The system, installed by Des Moines-based Iowa Sports Turf, will provide enhanced infrastructure and stability to the natural grass.
MNUFC anticipate the project will be completed by the end of May, well before the 2022 MLS All-Star Game presented by Target comes to the Twin Cities on Aug. 10. In that match, the MLS All-Stars will face the Liga MX All-Stars.
“After five 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,” Minnesota United CEO Shari Ballard said in a release. “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 the field. Our world-class grounds crew is pretty excited, too!”
GrassMax systems have a 100% 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 level playing surface.
The system is guaranteed to last for at least 10 years, and the playing characteristics of the pitch are identical to a natural pitch. It’s used at the Maracana Stadium in Brazil and several English Premier League stadiums, including West Ham’s London Stadium, Leicester City’s King Power Stadium and Leeds United’s Elland Road.
“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, This is certainly one of those elements” Ryan Moy, head groundskeeper at MNUFC, said in a release.
“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 through the entire season. More specifically, we will be certain our surface will be stable in our colder seasons in Minnesota.”
Allianz Field opened in 2019, two years after Minnesota joined MLS as an expansion team. The soccer-specific stadium has emerged as a venue for the US men’s and women’s national teams as well.