Buono prefers artificial grass

BOB MACKIN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:22 PM ET

VANCOUVER -- The B.C. Lions haven't played on grass at home since 1969 at the original Empire Stadium and that won't change this summer.

The Vancouver Whitecaps are installing a temporary grass pitch at Empire Field for a Major League Soccer match July 16 against Real Salt Lake and a July 18 exhibition against Manchester City of the English Premier League. But the sod will be off before the Lions are home to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats July 22.

"To play on grass is not something we would want to do," Lions coach and general manager Wally Buono told QMI. "The players are probably more comfortable playing on (synthetic turf) because of the footing, because of the speed and the consistency than they are on grass."

Buono said a temporary surface can work for soccer but wouldn't withstand the wear and tear of 300-pound linemen seeking traction and stability.

"Most of the players don't even have grass shoes anymore," he said.

Buono is set to attend tryout camps Saturday in Washington, D.C., and Sunday in Atlanta on Sunday. The Lions' home opener is July 8 at Empire. The club reopens B.C. Place Stadium Sept. 30.


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