Fans may wish otherwise, but it is extremely unlikely that the Seattle Sounders will be changing to a grass field anytime in the foreseeable future.
Seattle Sounders supporters have it better than most in MLS. For example, how many other fanbases can say their team qualifies for the playoffs every year?
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On top of this, the Sounders have already won four U.S. Open Cups and one Supporters Shield in their short history (as an MLS team). Yes, the ultimate prize has alluded them so far, but life is good in the Pacific Northwest.
Of course, the fans do their bit, with the distinction of leading the league in attendance every year since they joined MLS in 2009. As if to empathize this point, the Sounders are coming off a season in which they once again set a new franchise record, with an average of 44,247 people attending home games.
Regardless of all this, no matter how well things are going, Sounders fans aren’t entirely happy. This unhappiness stems from wishing to watch their team play on real grass, as opposed to turf.
That’s the problem when you share a stadium with the Seattle Seahawks. No matter how well you care for a grass field, playing at least 10 NFL games per year (including preseason), will compromise the quality of the surface.
On top of this, you have to take into account the various concert and other events which also take place at CenturyLink Field. A grass surface is just not a realistic proposition.
Of course, the main solution for the Sounders would be to build their own stadium. However, given that they signed a stadium lease extension just last year to remain at the Link until at least 2028, this is not an option either at this juncture.
Furthermore, the Sounders ownership realize they play in one of the premier locations in all of North America. And spending $500 million on a new stadium, just to have a grass field, doesn’t exactly make good business sense.
In truth, while a grass surface is understandably a preference, playing on a synthetic turf hasn’t compromised the Sounders too much. In fact, their record at home has been extremely impressive.
Since 2009, they have played 115 regular season games at CenturyLink Field, never losing more than four games in any one year. In total, their home record stands at 68-24-23, meaning the team wins roughly 10 games out of 17 every season.
Overall, no one is criticizing Sounders fans for wanting to see their team play home games on a grass surface, especially with the potential for a higher quality of play. Unfortunately for them though, it’s not going to happen anytime soon.