MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — World-class soccer is coming to the Twin Cities this weekend, and world-class soccer needs a world-class field.
It takes a lot of effort to put real grass over the artificial turf that covers TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.
Scott Ellison, the University of Minnesota’s assistant athletics director for facilities, says the sod comes from KLM farm in North Branch. It’s being shipped in and installed in preparation for the match between England’s Manchester City club and Greece’s Olympiacos club.
“There’s 30 trucks total is what I was told, and 10,000-square yards of sod going in,” Ellison said. “International soccer, or Premiere League soccer, typically is played on the natural grass surfaces because of the caliber of play and the tradition of the game.”
It’s all part of the busiest summer in the short history of this stadium, starting with a rock concert before Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game and leading up to the first Vikings preseason game, which is a week from Friday.
“We didn’t envision hosting a major concert and a major soccer game, you know, the same summer that we would start off with Vikings,” he said.
The new stands in the endzone are ready, and so is the Gophers grounds crew.
“We were going from seven home games to 17, so that says it right there,” Ellison said.
In fact, from the time they start until the end of December, there will be football on all but two weekends. And it’s not like the field will stay the same for all those games.
“Put the Vikings’ markings down, pull those off, put Gophers’ markings down, pull those off, so it’s constant flips here and there,” Ellison said.
Olympiacos and Manchester City play at 2 p.m. Saturday, followed by Minnesota United against the Ottawa Fury.
The grass will be gone by Tuesday so they can paint the football field on Thursday for the Vikings game on Friday.