ORLANDO - April 1, 2015 - In a calculated strategic move and one that’s sure to shock the soccer world, Orlando City City Founder and President Phil Rawlins today announced the Club has partnered with the Orlando Citrus Bowl to install a purple pitch ahead of this Friday’s match against D.C. United. The specially colored pitch will be the first of its kind in Major League Soccer (MLS) and required special dispensation from FIFA, soccer’s governing body.
The pitch is 100 percent grass, grown by TurfRite Labs, a Central Florida-based agricultural laboratory. Dr. Chris Jones from TurfRite Labs has been working on the project for nearly two years: “When Phil Rawlins first approached us about growing purple grass we thought he was crazy. But it turns out not only was it possible, it actually has properties which make it perfect for bounce, performance and durability.”
TurfRite was able to perform the feat by modifying the DNA strands in regular bermuda grass with purple enzymes found in Lavender and Eggplant. The grass took 11 months to grow, and was grown as an entire field before being transported to the Orlando Citrus Bowl. The goal was to have it ready in time for the Club’s first MLS game, but the Club wanted to make sure it was the perfect length and durable enough to be transported to the stadium.
Head Coach Adrian Heath thinks it may even give his team a tactical advantage, stating, “Our players will be virtually camouflaged against the pitch making it difficult for the opposition to spot them making runs. Imagine Kaká slipping into the box unnoticed and unmarked. Lethal.”
The purple turf is just the latest in the Club’s mission to do things differently. Rawlins continued, “I mean, purple is really our thing, man. We’ve painted the City purple, served purple beer at our parties, and even had purple sand at our groundbreaking - this is really just the next progression in our mission to make everything purple.”
Come see the "Purple Pitch" as Orlando City hosts D.C. United at the Orlando Citrus Bowl on April 3. Kickoff is set for 7:00 p.m. ET.