Turf and grass both have their advantages and disadvantage when it comes to Soccer. Some players prefer real grass; however, many colleges and professional leagues are choosing synthetic turf more and more often. There are quite a few reasons for this.
Cost of Upkeep
Turf is the clear winner in this face-off, or so it seems. Turf is much cheaper to upkeep than grass. Landscapers are not needed to trim the turf regularly. This is the primary reason a soccer field may contain turf rather than real grass.
Even though institutions choose turf instead of grass, a study in 2009 found that synthetic turf was more expensive to maintain than real grass. It cost around $14,000 per year to maintain a grass field; a turf field costs around $23,000.
Turf may be more expensive to maintain; however, it may end up costing less money in the long run. Turf lasts a lot longer than a grass field does. This means players will get more time out of a turf field than grass. Games came to be played in all kinds of weather on turf; however, grass tends to get muddy, making play difficult. Simply put: it takes a lot harsher weather to cause cancellation on a turf field than a grass field.
Turf doesn’t behave quite as grass does. This means a player must adapt to the turf when they usually play on grass and vice-versa. Turf is also not as soft as grass. For this reason, turf is more dangerous than grass fields. Turf offers less of a cushion for impact. This means when a player falls on turf more of the blow is taken by the body. However, a 2005 study determined that there was little to no difference in the two.
The Actual Game
Grass fields will vary greatly. A home team will have more of an advantage on a grass field because they will know every groove, rut, and obstacle on the field. Playing on a turf field doesn’t offer these advantages. Grass fields are also more dynamic due to different cut lengths. A field may be cut short one week and be longer the next. Even the home team won’t know exactly how the ball will behave every time. The ball will also bounce higher on turf.
It may seem as though turf is the clear winner, but let’s be honest, soccer wouldn’t be nearly as exciting without some of the famous fields the game has been played on – many of which are natural grass.