The grass is greenest where it’s watered

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On Saturday the United States Women’s soccer team put a halt to their 10 match Victory Tour around America.

The World Cup Champions were set to play a friendly against Trinidad and Tobago in Hawaii, but one look at the field and the game was off.

The longstanding debate between artificial turf and grass fields has been a back-and-forth battle between the US Women’s team and US Soccer. A year ago a key group of top players sued FIFA for the conditions of playing on artificial turf, but they won the FIFA World Cup on it less than six months ago. The team has been susceptible to the increased chance of soft-tissue injury and scrapes and burns that come with artificial turf for years now.

The team put forward a statement on The Players Tribune.

“Turf is our reality right now; we play on it all the time.

“We have become so accustomed to playing on whatever surface is put in front of us. But we need to realise that our protection – our safety – is priority number one.”

And realise they did in Hawaii, where the team called in the US Soccer Federation to inspect the fields – something that is conventionally done months before any international match but in this case an inspection occurred only days prior. Together the players, their coaches and the federation canned the game in the interests of player safety. The grounds were pulling apart at the seams and sharp pellets littered the blanket. US goalie Hope Solo shared the extent of the damage to her one million followers on Twitter.

But here’s the stickler: while eight of the ten matches on the women’s Victory Tour are played on artificial turf, the US men’s national tournament refuses to play on anything but grass fields. No cost is spared in replacing the fake stuff with real grass in scheduled stadiums already lined with artificial turf.

US forward Alex Morgan asked Fox Sports “whether we should be playing on it if the men wouldn’t be playing on it. ” Her teammates backed her up and really got to the bottom line.

“At the end of the day, we expect to be treated equally as our male counterparts”

“We hope that in the future our fields and venues will be chosen and inspected at the standard of an international match – whether its men or women playing on the field.”

The grass is looking greener for 2016, with all international games hosted by US Soccer to be played on natural grass. FIFA has also affirmed any matches before the Olympics to be on the real deal. That seems like a mighty feat, but only before you learn that men are playing in the same stadiums as women.

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Jade Toomey
A 20 year old Media and Law student trying to tame those stream-of-consciousness writing habits with an ickle bit of fun at the Central Coast Mariners.

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