Sitting on 15,000 square meters of land at the heart of McKinley Hill, Taguig, Emperador Stadium provides Filipino football players with the opportunity to play in a reliable, world-class football pitch all year round. The stadium, casually known as “Empy,” features top-tier artificial turf from Italian brand Limonta. Developed by Megaworld Corporation, the stadium’s 2,000 person seating capacity makes it a great venue for matches at all levels, from professional games to school clinics.
Emperador Stadium also serves as the home of the United Football League (UFL). Its 2 year partnership with the UFL plays a key role in further growing the league and expanding the community.
All-Season, High Performance Gameplay
Emperador Stadium’s Limonta Max S 60 artificial turf was supplied and installed byE-sports. Limonta is one of the world’s best turf providers, certified at the highest level (2 Star) by FIFA. The stadium’s pitch is similar to the turf systems of top clubs including AC Milan and Valencia FC. The turf’s infill is recycled black SBR rubber. The high-quality turf mimics both the appearance and playing performance of natural grass, allowing a quick tempo of the game.
Limonta artificial turf is ideal for the temperamental Philippine weather, with alternating heavy rain and high temperatures. It can take many hours, or even days, for natural grass pitches to completely drain of rainwater. With this turf, water is drained quickly and efficiently. Matches can continue in spite of rain showers.
During the scorching summer months, the soil can turn very hard and can affect the ball’s roll and bounce. Natural earth pitches require constant maintenance to ensure fluid gameplay. Limonta’s turf assures players that the ball’s shock absorption on the terrain is consistent, even when it’s very hot and dry.
Unlike other stadiums, which can be rented for other purposes like concerts, Emperador is exclusively for specific sports like football, American football and rugby use only, to protect the turf. While exclusive for those sports, it is open and available for any group to rent and use. Because it is available for public use, Emperador Stadium gives more people the opportunity to experience playing on a high quality artificial turf pitch.
Home of the United Football League
Perhaps it is for these reasons that the UFL chose to make Emperador Stadium its home. UFL, the country’s premier semi-professional football league, has games all year round. Previous matches were rarely cancelled, and were only stopped during torrential downpours and typhoons. Megaworld inked a 2 year partnership with the Football Alliance and the UFL for the use of the stadium last year and it is possible that the stadium could be the league’s home for many more years to come.
The football league christened the stadium with its first match last year and had all of their games last season there. Emperador Stadium and the recently re-opened Rizal Memorial Stadium (also using Limonta artificial turf) are the only stadiums that League is using this season. There are plans to further expand the pitch to increase the seating capacity, which may give the UFL an even larger platform and opportunity to expand their fan base.
Expanding the Filipino Football Community
The stadium also frequently hosts football clinics to teach kids the sport, passing on the love for the game to a new generation. Last August, the One Meralco Foundation and their UFL football club, the Loyola Meralco Sparks, held a charity football clinic for underprivileged kids from Bulacan. Fifty children were scholars of cement manufacturing company Holcim Philippines’ Foster a Child’s Education (FACE) program. Most of the children never played football in their lives, but they were engaged with the simplicity and beauty of the sport. Some football schools, like Kaya FC Academy in Manila, also hold their classes and clinics in Emperador Stadium. These clinics all help in expanding the Philippine football community.
As football pitches increasingly become both more accessible to the general public and have higher-quality facilities, the appreciation for the sport will hopefully grow as well. “It’s what we call a game changer, having this facility that will offer to all Filipinos alike not only to become competitive but so we can also excel in this sport,” said Jericho Go, Megaworlds’s Vice President for Business Leasing and Development group during the launch of Emperador Stadium.
Even if the stadium has a size and capacity that are considerably smaller compared to international football stadiums, it is nonetheless a stepping stone to bigger things for the local football community. The stadium’s early success and partnership with the country’s premiere football league can only mean brighter things for the growing football community in the country.
United Football League
Courtesy of E-sports International