U.S. Women’s Soccer Match Canceled Due to Unsafe Turf
By Maui Now
Two months from today the 2016 Pro Bowl will be played at Aloha Stadium. Today, the playing surface at Aloha Stadium was deemed unfit to host an international soccer match by the players of the U.S. Women’s National Team.
As a result the scheduled match today against Trinidad and Tobago at 3 p.m. has been canceled and all ticket purchasers will be fully refunded. That was the decision U.S. Soccer officials made late Saturday night.
“Very disappointed with the surface, to be honest,” said midfielder Carli Lloyd, via the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. “I think coming to Hawaii is great and it’s great to be able to play here. But you take a look at the field, it’s just not good enough . . . You look at a surface like this, you just worry that people are going to get injured and something’s going to happen.”
Star forward Alex Morgan told FOX Sports reporter Laura Vescey: “The training grounds that we were given and the playing surface of the stadium was horrible. I think it’s hard because no one’s really going to protect us but ourselves. So we’re put in a very hard position because obviously we want to play in front of these fans and we want to train before the game, but injuries happen when you don’t protect yourself and when you’re not protected from those higher up from you.”
The match was expected to draw a large audience in the 50,000 seat venue and a national television audience on FOX Sports 1.
U.S. Soccer released a statement saying they had determined that “the artificial turf surface is not suitable to hold an international soccer match.” The organization tested the playing surface during the WNT’s training session on Saturday and they made the decision to cancel the match after looking at all possible options available to get the field in a playable condition.
Goalkeeper Hope Solo tweeted a picture of the seam in the turf at the stadium during Saturday’s workout in Halawa.
Soccer fields are larger than football fields, so turf was added to the playing area. A soccer field is 110-120 yards long and 70-80 yards wide. A football field is 120 yards long and 53 1/3 yards wide.
The good news from the NFL’s perspective is that the soccer players were most concerned about the state of the playing surface near the sidelines, which would be out of bounds during the Pro Bowl. And with the Hawaii Bowl slated to be played at Aloha Stadium on December 24, the league will soon have an opportunity to see exactly how the playing surface looks during a football game.
“We extend our sincere apologies to those fans who were scheduled to attend the U.S. Women’s National Team match in Hawaii,” said U.S. Soccer spokesman Neil Buethe in a story on KHON.com. “Player safety is our number one priority at all times and after a thorough inspection throughout the day, we determined it was in the best interest for both teams to not play the match. We regret not being able to play in front of our fantastic, loyal fans.”
The friendly match against Trinidad and Tobago at Aloha Stadium was to be the first international match hosted by U.S. Soccer in Hawaii.