Sounders may seek new stadium, because the turf at their current one is three years old

Now that D.C. United is getting a new stadium thanks to the generosity of the D.C. council, the list of teams without soccer-only stadiums is down to the New England Revolution, the new NYC F.C, the Vancouver Whitecaps, and the Seattle Sounders. NYC F.C.’s owners are actively looking for a new home, and the Revolution’s are at least thinking about it, but the Sounders owners have been happy to have their MLS squad sharing digs with the Seahawks — and why wouldn’t they, since they’re drawing more than 40,000 fans per game, far and away tops in the league. Why, there’s no possible reason why the Sounders would need a new stadium

The Seattle Sounders are not happy with the state of the CenturyLink Field turf and are growing frustrated with what seems to be an increasing sense that they are secondary tenants at the facility they share with the Seattle Seahawks.

How frustrated? ESPN’s Taylor Twellman seems to think it’s to the point that a new home is something the Sounders are at least considering.

“Secretly I think Adrian Hanauer needs [Real Salt Lake GM] Garth Lagerwey because I think Adrian Hanauer is going to look for a stadium,” Twellman told ESPN700 when talking to the Salt Lake City radio station about the news he broke on Monday. “I know that’s a long shot and people may find that surprising but I think Adrian Hanauer wants Seattle to have their own stadium and I wouldn’t be shocked if that’s where his focus and energy then turns.”

I’d point out that it would be a lot cheaper to replace the turf every year than to build a whole new stadium, and that a soccer-only facility that seats 40,000 is going to be crazy expensive, and that the Sounders’ coach has worried that Seattle gets too much rain for grass to be a good option there, and that complaining about being second-class citizens to the Seahawks is nuts when they’re partly owned by the same people — but you know, let’s just stick with the fact that this is just some soccer reporter speculating wildly. For now, anyway.

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7 comments on “Sounders may seek new stadium, because the turf at their current one is three years old

  1. First time comment:
    The issue isn’t that it is three years old, the issue is that soccer players like soft turf and football players like hard turf. Clint Dempsey can score more goals if the field is slow, but Marshawn Lynch and score more touchdowns if the field is fast. Even if they replaced the turf every year, neither side can have the field they want.

    I think it is silly of the Sounders to even consider leaving, but they may have floated this to help with their internal bargaining.
    Some more points:
    – I’ve heard that some top name players have refused to sign with Seattle because of their turf
    – No one likes watching a soccer match with football lines on the pitch
    – The real culprit for the only MLS match where the turf was practically unplayable was an Amazon All-employee Broomball event that trampled the field.

  2. Soccer on turf is less than ideal, yes. (Cf. the current uproar over the Women’s World Cup having to be played on turf next year.) That said, building a whole new stadium just to get a slower pitch seems like overkill.

    Also, if top name players have refused to sign with Seattle because of the turf, I don’t want to see what that team would be like if they could sign everybody they wanted…

  3. Football players prefer “hard turf” yet still can’t figure out all of the pieces of their concussion crisis? There’s a reason rugby requires very stringent testing for safety standards to use artificial surfaces. According to World Rugby (nee IRB) Regulation 22, artificial surfaces must perform like natural surfaces, which is tested by doing things like bouncing weights and measuring infill.

  4. I used to hate seeing my New England Revolution play on plastic grass, but I have accepted it as a great home field advantage. While some players have refused to sign with the club in part because of it, some opposing players have refused to play on it *cough* Thierry Henry *cough* which weakens their teams whenever they play in Foxborough.

  5. Neil you are massively under estimating the issues as to why the Sounders want their own stadium. Yes Centurylink is ideal, and its probably more likely the Seahawks ask for a new stadium by 2025 than anything else BUT the Sounders, as much as anyone in MLS, is close to becoming a globally recognized brand. Because of FIFA the video game, everyone knows who they are (X Box kits helps) but there are some real issues with the fact that a “global brand” would want to change. The Sounders are a TENANT. When the stadium was built, there was a massive push into the soccer community. MLS was only a year or two old so it was more of a push for the future. There was SUPPOSED to be grass when it was first brought to vote. The vote barely passed and I assure had the soccer community not been involved and a soccer design wasnt involed, it would not have passed. It was that close.

    Issues with being a tenant are signage, rights to concessions, the ability to change things, get money from parking,etc etc etc. Sure on issue by itself means nothing but if you add them all up. It becomes a reason to start looking or at least threaten it to be considered not a second rate tenant by First and Goal but to be considered more fairly.

    Like I said, I have a feeling a suburb will take in the Hawks in the coming decade as the life span of stadiums is massively short (sickening really). Then the Sounders will take over, IMHO. Of course they could have massive renovations but that is sickening as well.

  6. I’ve been to great natural grass soccer stadiums all over wet UK, The Netherlands, Norway, and snowy Germany, so I don’t buy that natural grass does not work in the Pacific NW. They key is proper slope of the turf and subterranean drainage system. It has also been proven, that there are less foot, ankle and knee injuries on natural turf, but it is a little more work to maintain it with a full-time turf keeper, much like top-flight golf courses have full-time greens keepers in the Northwest. As long as soccer is being played in the same stadium, and the bigger brother (American football), you will not likely see a natural grass full-capacity stadium in Seattle.

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