The 2026 World Cup is coming to Lumen Field in Seattle, and preparations are already underway to lay down a grass surface for the event. Seattle CEO Peter Tomozawa has stated that the grass will be laid down in early spring of 2026, even though the stadium’s field replacement activity won’t start until 2025. This change is significant as Lumen Field has used an artificial surface since its opening in 2002, as the home for the Seattle Seahawks of the NFL, Seattle Sounders of the MLS, and Seattle Reign of the NWSL.
The decision to use grass for the World Cup matches is a departure from previous events, where artificial surfaces were used. While the Women’s World Cup used artificial fields during the 2015 event in Canada and received criticism from players, men’s World Cup matches have never used artificial surfaces for games. Several other stadiums, including AT&T Stadium, Mercedes Benz Stadium, MetLife Stadium, Gillette Stadium, NRG Stadium, and SoFi Stadium, will also have to come up with grass solutions for the 2026 event.
Tomozawa stated that advanced planning back when the stadium was constructed should help in the process of putting down the grass in 2026. He mentioned that the stadium already has plumbing and infrastructure built-in because it was constructed for the World Cup. This preparation is crucial as it ensures that Lumen Field can host six games at the stadium during the tournament without any issues. Overall, this change signifies a return to traditional turf for international soccer events and marks an exciting development for fans of both soccer and football in Seattle.