The University of Hawaii Rainbow Warriors open the season with a new head coach and a new playing surface.
When the team hits the field at Aloha Stadium for its first home game next month, players will be enjoying newly installed turf.
Crews started to replace the field this past May.
The result was unveiled Tuesday to university officials and the media.
“It’s much softer. The blades are two and a half inches instead of two and a quarter,” said stadium manager Scott Chan. “overall, it’s just a better field.”
Last December, members of the U.S. women’s national soccer team made a stink about the turf at Aloha Stadium, calling it horrible. They even canceled the match against Trinidad and Tobago.
The turf war made its way around the world with star goal keeper Hope Solo tweeting a photo.
“We always had it in the plan to install a field in 2017, but we decided to move it up because of the significant amount of competition to host the 2017 Pro Bowl,” Chan said.
Unfortunately, it didn’t help. In June, we learned the Pro Bowl would be headed to Orlando, Florida.
But stadium officials are hopeful that as one door closes, another will open and “it lures new potential future events as well,” Chan said.
Chan says it cost $1.2 million to install the new field, which is $300,000 under budget. The money came from the naming rights to the field.
“(It’s) so important for our student athletes, frankly appreciate how expeditiously these guys got it done, because I know it was a tough timeline to get it done so I appreciate that,” said UH athletics director David Matlin.
“The boys are very excited,” said UH football head coach Nick Rolovich. “Probably had our best day of practice today, not necessarily great plays, but how this team is beginning to play. I hope you see a positive difference, and I think you will.”
The first home game of the season for Rainbow Warriors is set for Sept. 10, at 6 p.m. against the University of Tennessee at Martin.