USSF defends use of temporary grass field in Cincinnati

Posted at 11:19 PM, Apr 19, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-19 23:20:25-04

CHICAGO (AP) — The U.S. Soccer Federation called Cincinnati "a perfect host" for its June 9 exhibition against Venezuela, a day after the U.S. National Soccer Team Players Association claimed the Nippert Stadium playing surface is dangerous.

Players said the temporary grass field on top of the venue's artificial turf "is a threat to player safety."

The USSF issued a statement Friday saying the game was scheduled "to connect with Cincinnati's growing soccer culture" and to reduce travel time. The Americans will play their CONCACAF Gold Cup opener June 18 against Guyana at St. Paul, Minnesota.

"Laying sod at large stadiums is common practice for world class matches, as was the case during Copa America Centenario, and again this summer with the Gold Cup," the USSF said. "The sod, installation, and maintenance planned for Cincinnati will provide players a first-class surface."

The federation said its preference is to play on grass and "it's important for soccer fans in Cincinnati and in other cities across the country with a major stadium that has artificial turf, to have the opportunity to support their national teams. ... If we can't ever put down turf, that means we can't play in cities such as Seattle, Atlanta, Portland, Boston, Chattanooga, New Jersey, Houston and Dallas."