CHICAGO (Tuesday, February 12, 2002) — Less than one month before the U.S. Men’s National Team takes on Honduras at Safeco Field on March 2, the infield of Safeco Field will be sodded for the first time in its history. The infield is being sodded in advance of the U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team’s long-awaited return to Seattle on March 2, when they will face 2001 FIFA World Team of the Year Honduras at Safeco Field in an international friendly that will be televised live on ESPN at 1 p.m. PT.
"We are pleased to help bring soccer at this level back to Seattle," said Seattle Mariners VP of Business Operations Bob Aylward. "This match-up will showcase Safeco Field nationally and internationally as a versatile venue for hosting a variety of events."
Safeco Field, which hosted college football’s Seattle Bowl, will be re-sodded to cover the baseball infield and will feature a 110 x 70 yard soccer field. The re-sodding process will begin on Thursday, February 14, as the maintenance crews begin to dig up the infield dirt. About an inch and a half of dirt will be removed so the turf will lay flush with the existing grass. The same dirt that is removed will be replaced once the sod is dug up following the U.S. – Honduras match.
The new infield grass will then be installed on Monday, February 18. The grass that is installed will be a blend of Kentucky Blue Grass and perennial rye grass and is being grown at Safeco’s turf supplier, CountryGreen Turf Farms. Safeco’s head groundskeeper, Bob Christofferson, will oversee the operation.
MORE THAN 21,000 TICKETS ALREADY SOLD: More than 21,000 seats have already been sold to the U.S. – Honduras match. The $55 VIP / Midfield tickets sold out 10 days after going on sale, and the lower level sideline seats have also sold out. Tickets for the game can be purchased at all Ticketmaster outlets throughout the Pacific Northwest or by phone at 206-628-0888. More information is available on U.S. Soccer's website at ussoccer.com. Tickets can also be purchased at the Safeco Field Box Office (open Monday-Saturday 9 am to 7 pm; Sunday 11 am to 5 pm).
"We are excited to be returning to Seattle, an area that has a long history of supporting soccer in the United States," said U.S. MNT head coach Bruce Arena, who recently guided the USA to the 2002 Gold Cup championship. "Safeco Field is a beautiful facility, and we think it will make a terrific venue for soccer."
The U.S. MNT has only played in Seattle one other time, when they tied Russia 1-1 on January 29, 1994 in front of 43,651 fans at The Kingdome. Alexi Lalas scored the lone goal for the U.S.