Next year will see MLS soccer played at Yankee Stadium with the arrival of New York City FC. A recent match there between two European giants was a preview of how the facility will work for pro soccer.
Until they are able to work out the details of their future stadium, the temporary Yankee Stadium soccer situation will present its own challenges. Chief among these — scheduling Yankee Stadium soccer games — the two seasons being roughly concurrent. According to Yankees President Randy Levine, “We’re not going to do anything to affect the Yankees schedule…. We don’t anticipate any scheduling problems. If there is, there are other venues in the city.” As Yankees COO Lonn Trost expressed, soccer will play second fiddle to baseball in the stadium, as the name makes clear — “Yankee Stadium was, has been, and always will be Yankee Stadium.”
The Premier League game illustrated some of the logistical challenges of the stadium share, particularly in terms of the quality of the temporary pitch. Laying down playable turf over the infield dirt is tricky and doesn’t seem to result in a perfect playing surface, like those common in European competition.
“Maybe it was not the best pitch to play (soccer),” Manchester City coach Manuel Pelligrini said after the match. “But it was not so bad. It was not a problem for the players.” Liverpool coach Brendan Rodgers echoed that sentiment, “I thought three-quarters of the field was excellent.”
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