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Clarke Stadium to get new turf and other upgrades

The worst pitch in the NASL is going to be replaced

USA TODAY Sports

FC Edmonton's field was by far the worst in the NASL, being both an awful pitch to play on as well as terrible for spectators to look at. Luckily, it looks like that won't be the case for too much longer, as the Edmonton City Council looks set to go ahead with some long overdue upgrades:

"City councillors agreed Wednesday to install new artificial turf at Clarke Park, but dropped plans to one day consider building a $120-million soccer stadium."

"Although amateur football teams that use Clarke aren’t happy the turf will have permanent soccer lines to meet the needs of FC Edmonton, community services general manager Linda Cochrane said temporary football markings can be painted on."

"The $1.3-million turf project will go ahead this year. The city will consider replacing bleachers, change rooms, concessions and making other improvements at the Jasper Place Bowl in 2015."

It's not clear exactly when this year that the new turf will be installed, but the fact that they are doing so is good news for NASL fans and players alike. There are also plans to expand the stadium once FC Edmonton attendance warrants it:

"Councillors accepted a $20-million plan to expand Clarke to 10,000 seats from the current 5,000 once a team can average 4,500 fans a game for three years."

"FC Edmonton, which now draws almost 2,500 people a game, says it needs average attendance of about 8,000 to break even."

"But council deleted a proposal to start planning a 20,000-seat stadium at a new location once an average of 9,500 spectators start showing up."

-Edmonton Journal

It's a shame that the new stadium proposal was shot down, but hopefully the Canadian club will eventually increase attendance to the point where the idea is revisited. That attendance figure will be one of the things to really watch this season, as 4,500 would seem to be a fairly reasonable number once the awful football lines are no longer an issue.