A "green" Bell Pitch

Laying sod at Empire

This week sees Bell Pitch at Empire Field undergoing an extensive renovation, as 90,000 square feet of temporary grass sod is being laid in preparation for the arrival of English Premier League giants Manchester City FC as a part of the Herbalife World Football Challenge 2011 on Monday night, July 18. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. PT.

The arrival of grass has been eagerly anticipated at Empire Field, and is sure to be welcomed by players who have honed their skills on the natural surface for years. The installation is expected to take three days and will be tested on Saturday in MLS action when Real Salt Lake arrive for an early afternoon fixture against Vancouver Whitecaps FC, with kickoff set for 1 p.m. PT.

Although grass is generally the preferred surface for 'The Beautiful Game', maintenance and adverse weather concerns tend to make turf a more feasible choice when considering surface installation. Sharing the surface with the Canadian Football League’s B.C. Lions, Whitecaps FC appreciates the versatility the turf provides, but is excited to return to the soft and forgiving feel a natural surface provides.

Because of its temporary nature, the sod being installed at Bell Pitch consists of an earth and sand base, which restricts drainage and helps maintain the freshness of the pitch. Specific to soccer pitch standards, the grass is cut at 1 ¼ inches to ensure optimum conditions for a fast-paced display of the finest soccer skill.

Tickets for the Monday, July 18, international match between Whitecaps FC and Manchester City FC - which kicks off at 7 p.m. PT - are available at all Ticketmaster Ticket Centres, online at ticketmaster.ca, or Charge-by-Phone at 1.855.6.GO-CAPS.