Dodger Stadium has been transformed from a baseball stadium into a soccer pitch ahead of Saturday’s Guinness International Champions Cup matches.
Earlier, I spoke with Dodger groundskeeper Eric Hanson on the preparation of getting Dodger Stadium ready for soccer.
My interview with him is below...
(On how the grounds crew began the conversion…)
HANSON: “We started immediately after the Yankees/Dodgers game on Wednesday at 10:45 p.m.. We spent three hours doing what we needed to do to prep the field for the sod that was installed early on Thursday morning. From that point on, we did detail work and looked at the grass closely, and then attended to anything that we think might help. Now the lines have been painted and the goals have come in, so it is completely set up.”
(On how the reconfiguration was done…)
HANSON: “It mostly involves how we handle the dirt portions of the field because those areas had to be resodded, so to make that work we had to do some work on the skin areas and remove some of the material so the sod will transition nicely. The field runs over the pitcher’s mound and we did have to remove that, so it will have to be rebuilt prior to the Dodgers coming back in town next Friday.”
(On the challenges for the reconfiguration…)
HANSON: “The whole objective is that we want it to be as good as surface as we can possibly provide. We obviously have time constraints and we have to get it back in shape for the Dodgers on the following Friday, so we do the best that we can in the amount of time that we have. Our goal is to make that field as well play as well as it can.”
(On how long it’ll take to return the stadium to baseball shape…)
HANSON: “It won’t take much time to get that turf off. The sod company will come in and remove it. Then we have to bring the dirt that we took out and put that in on all the places. Also, we have to rebuild the pitcher’s mound. We’ll spend till next Thursday working on that and doing our detail work to get it back in shape.”
(On what it means for Dodger Stadium to host two soccer matches…)
HANSON: “It’s a new challenge for us. This is what we do. This is why the grounds crew is here and it’s not uncommon. Football has been played in baseball stadiums for many years and that’s a conversion that used to occur all the time. Soccer is no different; it’s just a different type of conversion. It’s just a new challenge for us and that’s how we view it. We’re anxious to see how it all works out, and hopefully, we can do it again.”