Turf issues fixed, Aloha Stadium gets ready to welcome pro soccer back

Turf issues fixed, Aloha Stadium gets ready to welcome pro soccer back
Updated: Dec. 29, 2017 at 4:46 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The last time Aloha Stadium was set to host an international soccer match, the game was canceled after complaints the aging turf was too dangerous.

Now, with professional men's teams from Japan, Canada, and the U.S set to play here in February, stadium officials say they are ready.

"We have an improved drainage system. There's no seams, so it's one continuous field, and the blades are a little bit thicker, so it makes it a little bit faster as well," said Samantha Spain, Aloha Stadium's sales and marketing specialist.

Spain says the new field was installed in August 2016 and cost about $1.2 million.

"We're really happy with the field and we're looking forward to bringing soccer back here," Spain said.

Back in December 2015, thousands of fans were left disappointed after a match between the U.S. Women's National Soccer team and Trinidad and Tobago was canceled at the last minute because of concerns with the field's condition.

The decision stunned stadium officials who argued that the field was fine.

"We are a safe facility and we do our checks every year and we will continue to do that," said Spain.

On Febr. 8 and 10, the inaugural Pacific Rim Cup will bring four professional men's soccer teams to Aloha Stadium -- the Vancouver Whitecaps from Canada, the Hokkaido Consadole Sapporro and Iwaki Football Club from Japan, and the Columbus Crew from the United States.

Organizers say they are pleased with the stadium's upgrades.

"Some of the teams have sent representatives out to check on the field and are very happy with it and have said that it will be perfect for their playing conditions," said Justin George, who handles media relations for the Pacific Rim Cup.

Organizers say the two-day tournament will be an exciting experience for soccer fans in Hawaii, and they hope to bring professional soccer back to the islands every year.

"It's only happened twice before in 2008 and 2012 that they brought these professional soccer teams to participate. But the goal for the new Pacific Rim Cup is it will be an annual tradition," said George.

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