Aloha Stadium officials assure safety of turf ahead of pro soccer tournament

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HONOLULU (AP) — Aloha Stadium is ready to welcome back professional soccer teams after a series of renovations, stadium officials say.

An investment of $1.2 million was made to install the new field in August 2016, Hawaii News Now reported Friday.

They have also improved the drainage system, said Samantha Spain, marketing specialist for the stadium.

“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,” she said.

The moves come after a 2015 match between the U.S. women’s soccer team and Trinidad and Tobago was cancelled after complaints by U.S. players of unsafe field conditions, leaving thousands of fans disappointed.

Stadium officials argued that the field was safe.

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

Professional men’s teams from Japan, Canada and the U.S. are set to play in the inaugural Pacific Rim Cup, Feb. 8 and 10 at Aloha Stadium. The teams include the Vancouver Whitecaps and Columbus Crew of Major League Soccer, and the Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo and Iwaki FC of the Japan Professional Football League.

Team organizers are pleased with the renovation results, said Justin George, who handles media relations for the tournament.

“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,” George said.