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Seahawks, Sounders FC Commissioning Study to Determine Viability of Grass Surface

Both Fredy Montero and Russell Okung could benefit by playing their home games on grass.
Both Fredy Montero and Russell Okung could benefit by playing their home games on grass.

Joshua Mayers of the Times with the story

H/T to the folks over at SounderAtHeart

Before people start frothing at the mouth let's be clear that this is a joint effort from both the Sounders and the Seahawks. The current turf at Qwest Century Link Field likely will need to be replaced soon due to the usual wear-and-tear. The question at this stage is what that replacement will be. 

Last week, the Sounders, Seahawks and First and Goal commissioned a study to see if grass could be a viable playing surface in the future. But whether it's grass or artificial turf, the days on the current surface are numbered.

"I would be surprised if we're playing on the same turf next year," said [Sounders General Manager Adrian] Hanauer, who claimed "timing and logistics" prevented a new installation before this season.

Many Sounders and soccer fans have been fairly clear that their preference is for a grass pitch, but the biggest strike against that is the fact that surface could be ground to bits with two professional sporting teams playing in often wet weather. Torn up fields can lead to injuries and honestly, who wants our playing surface to look like the Heinz Field Mudbowl? If grass happens, it's going to require improvements to the drainage system, hence the viability study. 

Will the next playing surface be grass? Probably not, but that largely is due to three teams playing there in 2012 when the Huskies are forced to crash with the Hawks and Sounders while their stadium undergoes renovations. In the short term, we're likely looking at another field turf surface, though it's probably safe to say that it will be nicer than the one currently installed. Sounders ownership will want to at least meet FIFA's two-star rating. 

Long-term, however, grass could be a very real possibility and is one that Seahawks fans shouldn't write off. There are very real benefits to a natural grass surface, and there are some very interesting inroads being made in the area of natural and synthetic hybrids. Studies have shown that the number of injuries on grass surfaces versus turf are roughly the same, the difference are the type of injuries sustained. Turf produces sprains and tears while grass produces more impact injures, think broken bones. Russell Okung's ankles would probably appreciate a move to grass. 

Of course, putting grass down at Qwest Century Link our home stadium would do a small part to bolster a future US bid for a World Cup, and world class sporting events are cool so why not? 

It probably won't happen in the next year or so, but grass at our home games could materialize and it may not be as bad as you fear.