Minnesota United announced today the club has begun the process of upgrading the playing surface at Allianz Field to a GrassMax Systems hybrid stitch system, installed by Des Moines-based Iowa Sports Turf. Once completed, this new hybrid playing surface will provide enhanced infrastructure and stability to the natural grass.
“After 5 seasons of play, we have decided to further upgrade our playing surface at Allianz Field to ensure the greatest level of consistency, stability and quality throughout Minnesota’s changing seasons,” said Minnesota United CEO Shari Ballard. “We are continually looking for ways to improve the experience for our fans and our players, and given the incredible growth of soccer in our community, we are excited about the impact this will have on the durability of field. Our world-class grounds crew is pretty excited, too!”
GrassMax systems is 100 percent natural grass cover reinforced with synthetic fibers. The fibers stabilize the root zone of the pitch and increase the resistance of the grass to damage, limiting divots and ensuring a more consistently level playing surface. The system is guaranteed to last for at least ten years, and the playing characteristics of the pitch are identical to a perfect natural pitch.
"The technology is proven, widely used in European leagues and very much the preferred surface for FIFA. There are some core elements of this game that have evolved over time with a focus on elevating pitch performance and player safety,” said Ryan Moy, Head Groundskeeper at MNUFC. “This is certainly one of those elements. With respect to the evolution, it was only a matter of time before this technology reached MLS in a larger capacity. With a stitched surface at Allianz Field, we can offer a more consistent playing surface though the entire season. More specifically, we will be certain our surface will be stable in our colder seasons in Minnesota."
The installation is already underway and the club anticipates the project to be completed by the end of May. The hybrid technology is not new to the game. This is the same system used in stadiums throughout the world such as the Maracana Stadium in Brazil and English Premier League stadiums, including West Ham’s London Stadium, Leicester City’s King Power Stadium and Leeds United’s Elland Road.
In addition to improving the playing surface for all MNUFC games, the upgraded field reinforces the club’s commitment to having Allianz Field as a host venue for international soccer events, including World Cup qualifiers, international friendlies, USWNT and USMNT games and local community-led soccer games.