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A flaw in Jerry's World
by Paul Kennedy, July 24th, 2013 12:57AM

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TAGS:  gold cup, men's national team

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[GOLD CUP: Semifinals] The USA plays Honduras for the third time this year -- the rubber match in a series that saw the teams split their World Cup qualifiers -- when they meet Wednesday in the semifinals of the Gold Cup followed by Mexico-Panama. But the operative word here isn't rubber. It's concrete as in what the surface at Cowboys Stadium feels like.

For the third time in the last six weeks, the USA will play on grass installed at stadiums where NFL teams play on artificial turf. Some last-minute work salvaged the surface at Seattle's CenturyLink Field, where the USA beat Panama, 2-0, in their Hexagonal match. Sunday's USA-El Salvador Gold Cup quarterfinal at M&T Bank Stadium was also played on grass installed for the occasion, and it was given a passing grade.

But the sod installed over the concrete at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, has not taken well, and ugly seams have developed. U.S. goalkeeping coach Kasey Keller told SI.com's Grant Wahl that the surface "seems like concrete on top. Hard. Real hard."

This isn't the first time the Gold Cup has been played at Cowboys Stadium, built at a cost of $1.2 billion. The 2009 quarterfinals were the inaugural event at Cowboys Stadium, and the games were played on stadium's brand-new artificial turf.

This won't be the first time grass has been installed at Cowboys Stadium for soccer, though. Shortly after the 2009 Gold Cup quarterfinals, Chelsea and Club America played a game in the World Football Challenge at the stadium and grass was installed.

Last year, Brazil and Mexico played a friendly at Cowboys Stadium that drew almost 85,000 fans, and 100,000 square feet of Bermuda grass was installed over the concrete floor.

How has the artificial turf held up at the stadium known as Jerry's World after Cowboys owner Jerry Jones? An NFL Players Association survey ranked the surface fifth of 13 artificial-turf fields in the NFL in 2011, but it was in such bad condition after being rolled up, stored and relaid out so many times, it's had to be replaced this year.

Tour groups were given a glimpse of the new fake turf last month -- people actually pay to tour Jerry's World Cup -- and the first game on the surface will take place Aug. 4 when the Cowboys host the Miami Dolphins.


5 comments
  1. Paul Castillo
    commented on: July 24, 2013 at 10:33 a.m.
    You know it seems to me that U.S. Soccer should have rock star like demands when it comes to awarding matches. Red, white and blue M&M's go without saying. A demand for the very best natural turf surface should be another. Not a kinda sorta makeshift natural turf arrangement ... but the best money and science can come up with. Fingers crossed that JerryTurf doesn't bite us.

  1. Alexander Lozano
    commented on: July 24, 2013 at 2:14 p.m.
    Jerry's World & incredibly impressive...but it's not built for soccer & should never be used for ANY future matches IMO!!

  1. Chris Sapien
    commented on: July 24, 2013 at 2:23 p.m.
    There was a time when real men played "American Football" on real grass and the fans could face the elements........Why owners would put their players at continual risk of injury to cut costs, especially when they could increase a beer by $.25 and grow their own emergency turf somewhere in the vicinity of these stadiums, is beyond me. New emergency grass could then be cut, rolled and layed over the soil when needed based on the condition of the "old" real grass. It's not Rocket Surgery.......

  1. Bruce Gowan
    commented on: July 24, 2013 at 9:27 p.m.
    I wish USSF would refuse to play soccer on anything but real grass fields. There are plenty of fields available. What drives the need to play on these un-natural grass fields?

  1. Eugene Hiigel
    commented on: July 25, 2013 at 12:14 a.m.
    It is Concacaf, not US Soccer, that controls this tournament, selects venues, gets the bulk of the revenue. The US could not refuse to play without risking FIFA sanctions.


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