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Atlanta United’s turf promises to be better than all others

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I'm not changing minds here, but hopefully you feel better about the Atlanta United turf situation moving forward.

I know I'm not changing minds regarding the fact Atlanta United will play on a turf field come 2017. Soccer purists will, understandably, never come around. This isn't an attempt to convert you to Turfism.

I'll admit, I, much like many of you, am not a fan of playing the beautiful game on artificial grass. However, knowing that Mercedes-Benz Stadium was going to utilize turf, I wanted to give Arthur Blank and President/CEO of Atlanta Falcons Rich McCay a chance to prove turf in 2016 isn't the absolute worst thing in the world. I kept an open mind about the advances artificial turf companies have made in the last few decades and hoped that whatever kind of surface is ultimately laided down inside The Benz, it won't adversely effect the overall soccer product on the field.

Again, I know for most of you I'm not going to change your mind. So save your "still prefer real grass" and "always catering to NFL" comments.

Believe it or not, some European clubs do actually play on turf! (Gasp!) On top of that, according to the FieldTurf website, Barcelona, Manchester United, Real Madrid, AC Milan, Juventus and Inter Milan all practice on turf. So turf isn't some magical substance exclusive to soccer in MLS. While I can't attest for the quality of their practice fields, it is 2016, and that means technology should have seriously improved from those black pellet fields most of us played on in high school.

While not the same kind of turf, the Dutch club, Vitesse plays on GreenFields MX turf, which is the foundation to the new GreenFields MX 3-Star. The improvements are basically less infill and an even more natural-like playing surface.

A few things I noticed:

  • No black pellets so commonly associated with turf fields
  • The slight impressions into the turf left by the player's footsteps, implying grass-like surface
  • Looked really, really nice
  • Doesn't seem to have the random bouncing effect most artificial surfaces seem to have
I'm not going to immediately give the nod of approval, but considering clubs around the world have utilized the "older" model of the "new hotness" turf Atlanta United will be laying, I'd say the idea that the executives behind the creation of The Benz aren't considering Atlanta United would be completely false. I'll remind everyone that Uncle Arthur initially wanted a natural grass playing surface for both his teams.

Before you send out the hate tweets and "real soccer is played on grass" comments, I invite everyone to go watch videos of clubs with the GreenFields MX turf. I believe you'll notice the difference from the turf you played on in high school.

Here are just a couple I could find: