The ambitions of football club Roda JC
With aspirations of having the league's premier turf pitch, football club Roda JC partnered with ICL Growing Solutions.
The football pitch at Roda JC’s Parkstad Limburg Stadium is in impeccable condition. Last season, this Dutch club from Kerkrade transitioned from synthetic turf to natural grass, pioneering a fresh approach. With aspirations of having the league’s premier turf pitch, they’ve partnered with ICL Growing Solutions. We sat down with Patrick L’Espoir, Roda JC’s Sales & Sponsorship Manager, to discuss the club’s vision and their collaboration with ICL.
Patrick L’Espoir, Sales & Sponsorship Manager at Roda JC, in Parkstad
From synthetic to natural turf
Parkstad Limburg Stadium aims to top the charts as the premier league club in Limburg. A driving force behind this ambition was the recent switch from synthetic to natural grass. “For five seasons, we used synthetic turf primarily for commercial advantages, allowing us versatility for events and training,” Patrick notes. “However, this didn’t align with our evolving vision and the Dutch Eredivisie’s requirement for natural grass. With our new field, we aim to make a stronger impression and add greater value to our region.”
“This evolution demands a robust turf management plan and superior products – that’s where ICL steps in.”
Developing a professional turf strategy
Transitioning to natural grass, the club is committed to realizing its full potential, striving for the league’s best pitch. Patrick shares, “This evolution demands a robust turf management plan and superior products – precisely what ICL offers. ICL’s bespoke grass seeds and fertilizers cater to our stadium’s unique needs. Their consistent support and expertise ensure our turf remains in pristine condition.”
For ICL, many challenges faced by the stadium’s turf managers are commonplace. However, as Erik van Wijhe, an ICL consultant, points out, Roda JC’s turf stands apart. “Unlike most stadiums in the Netherlands that incorporate synthetic fibers for durability, Roda JC’s turf is purely organic. While many fields benefit from grow lights to stimulate nocturnal growth, Roda JC relies solely on our top-tier fertilizers to maintain a healthy, robust turf.”
The advantage of a good neighbour
Located just a short distance away, ICL’s production facility has formed a close bond with the club. “We are practically neighbours which brings a strategic advantage we intend to leverage,” Patrick notes. Being located in the same area has led to mutual site visits, providing invaluable insights and inspiration for both parties.
“Unlike most stadiums in the Netherlands that incorporate synthetic fibers for durability, Roda JC’s turf is purely organic. While many fields benefit from grow lights to stimulate nocturnal growth, Roda JC relies solely on ICL’s top-tier fertilizers to maintain a healthy, robust turf.”
Valued partnership for the local community
Roda JC’s collaboration with businesses centers around four main pillars: public image, sales, employer branding, and corporate social responsibility. “Our community-driven initiatives, such as the ‘School Tours’ and ‘Walking Football’, show our dedication to adding value to this region,” Patrick states. Similarly, ICL places immense importance on regional contributions, making their partnership with Roda JC a natural fit.
Kerkrade’s “koempel” mentality
The “koempel” mentality – or miner’s mentality – means rolling up your sleeves and work hard. It is rooted Kerkrade’s coal-mining legacy, and still intrinsic to operations at Parkstad Limburg Stadium and Roda JC. This spirit is encapsulated in the club’s motto, “Opstaan en Aanpakken” (Rise and Tackle). Patrick emphasizes, “It’s not about the win, but the effort we put forth.”
A lifelong Roda enthusiast, Patrick evolved from being a youth trainer to the club’s Sales & Sponsorship Manager. “I thrive on connecting entrepreneurs, creating meaningful brand engagements, and reaching expansive audiences both online and at the stadium,” he shares.