With its first competitive soccer match set for this week, Notre Dame Stadium is undergoing prep work that includes the installation of a natural-grass surface.
Liverpool F.C. will face Borussia Dortmund in a friendly at Notre Dame Stadium on Friday, marking the first competitive soccer match in the venerable facility’s history. Leading up to the game, work is taking place to install a natural-grass pitch that will be used for the match.
The natural-grass surface is being installed as part of a unique process, as it will be placed above a protective layer that will cover the turf surface used for college football games. Installation is set to completed ahead of Friday night’s match. More from the South Bend Tribune:
Rolls of turf — each weighing 2,000 pounds — were pulled off by forklift and delivered to crews who used a machine to roll them out. Another machine followed that pushed and flattened the sod to ensure a tight fit.
The machines were followed by workers who made final trims and watered the natural grass that hasn’t been seen in Notre Dame Stadium since 2014, but is necessary for the friendly matchup between Liverpool F.C. and Borussia Dortmund at 8 p.m. Friday.
Professional soccer athletes prefer natural surfaces, so a thin protective fabric layer had to be placed on top of the stadium’s artificial grass to ensure that dirt from the turf doesn’t work its way into the football field below.
Steve Bush, owner of Bush Sports Turf in Iowa, said the installation should be complete by Wednesday. At that point, it will be rolled to ensure a perfect playing surface and then mowed before soccer lines are painted on the surface.
Recent renovations to Notre Dame Stadium were made with the goal of attracting more non-football events in mind, and the upcoming match fits into that objective. Other non-football events that have been at the facility in recent months include a Garth Brooks from last October, and an NHL Classic outdoor game between the Chicago Blackhawks and Boston Bruins in January.
For Liverpool F.C., Friday’s match is part of a United States swing of friendlies that also includes stops at Fenway Park and Yankee Stadium.
Image courtesy Notre Dame Fighting Irish Athletics.