New York City FC outline plans for Yankee Stadium's baseball-to-soccer conversion
Yankee Stadium will be housing both New York City FC and MLB's New York Yankees in 2015, and neither side expects any scheduling issues.
NYCFC announced Monday that they will open their MLS existence next year at Yankee Stadium, and officials from both clubs outlined the plans to turn the iconic venue into one that is suited for both baseball and soccer games on a consistent basis.
The stadium will be downsized from its regular capacity of 49,642 seats to 33,444 seats for MLS matches. The dimensions for the soccer field will be 110 yards by 70 yards.
Some observers might view those field dimensions as narrow and not conducive to play the attractive style of soccer NYCFC head coach Jason Kreis has promised. But Kreis himself is not one of those people.
"For me, that’s a comfortable width," Kreis said a press conference at Yankee Stadium on Monday. "If you start going narrower than that, you have some concerns. But when I was told it was going to be 70 yards wide, I was a very happy man."
Putting a soccer field that fits FIFA dimension regulations in a baseball diamond can sometimes lead to issues, such as tight spaces around the corner flags, making corner kicks difficult to take and, of course, the pitcher's mound. But according to Yankees chief operating officer Lonn A. Trost, those issues have been accounted for.
"We have no concerns about the placement of the pitch on our field: No corner issues," Trost said. "We’ve moved the pitch. It's a little different than we’ve had in the past so that it’s not on the pitcher’s mound. As a result of that, what we were hoping to do is not to have to move the mound. But it appears we will have to do that."
The Yankees will employ a system that allows for the pitcher's mound to be removed and replaced in a day's time.
The entire transformation for the stadium from baseball to soccer – or vice versa – will take three days.
"Three days is important based on weather," Trost said. "We are analyzing that when it comes to the schedule. We will work out the schedule. We have done it before. We've tested it against existing schedules. We will be working with the club and MLS to make certain that the games will not get in the way of our regular [Yankees] schedule."
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Trost also discussed the condition of the field, as the stadium will see more use than ever before. The Yankee Stadium groundskeepers are looking to an National Football League team for solutions.
"The field itself is always a concern," Trost said. "We will be experimenting with what Green Bay uses: They have glow lights. Yes, the field today is being used more than it ever has, which is a concern, but we believe that we can grow grass at night."