Michigan Stadium, the largest stadium in the United States, is hosting two of international soccer’s most recognizable clubs, Manchester United and Real Madrid. The early reviews from the soccer world are not glowing for Michigan Stadium’s temporary turf. Michigan installed a natural grass turf specifically for this event but will return to an artificial turf before the start of the college football season.
“The pitch is not so good, and that’s a pity,” Manchester United coach Louis Van Gaal said. This came after a two-hour practice session, according to MLive.com. “We have fantastic teams, and we have to play on a bad pitch. The ball is not rolling, it’s not bumping as usual.”
Maybe Michigan’s football team can use that same excuse?
It has been quite the offseason for Michigan Stadium. The historic venue hosted the NHL’s Winter Classic between the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs on New Years Day, Michigan’s spring game and now a soccer match. Michigan football is just around the corner as well.
The field may not be ideal for footballers, but it is still a pretty neat view to see…
— Michigan Football (@umichfootball) August 2, 2014
The soccer match has been months in the making. We first heard of the possibility of the match back in late January. Hosting the match is just the latest attempt made by Michigan AD Dave Brandon to make more use of Michigan Stadium when not in football season. If Michigan can overcome the criticisms about the turf, then this will not be the last big time match we will see in Ann Arbor.
Note: As has been pointed out, Michigan installed a natural grass field specifically for this event and will return to the artificial turf before the start of the college football season.