Soccer possible at new Titans' stadium, maybe even with grass

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Titans' new enclosed stadium which could open as soon as 2026 will have a field big enough for soccer matches and come with a long-term vision for installing dirt and grass to host even the world’s biggest matches.

That’s too late to help Nashville for the 2026 World Cup, which passed on Nashville as a venue.


Courtesy Tennessee Titans

U.S. Soccer doesn’t play much on artificial turf, but it can.

“We would always consider playing matches in a new venue," said Neil Buethe, its chief communications officer. “We’d obviously want to do our own site visit, and prefer to play on natural grass.” [Unlocked]

NSC’s GEODIS Park opened this year, holds 30,000 and is a first-class soccer stadium with grass.

But seven of 11 matches in Nashville since 2015 -- three men’s national team games, one double header they were part of, two games featuring Mexico’s national team and an International Champions Cup game between Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur in the summer of 2017 – all drew in excess of 30,000.

That game between the two premier league teams drew 56,232. Grass is a definite preference for such international games, but AT&T Stadium was a site in 2019.

Artificial turf is not acceptable for World Cup matches overseen by the world’s governing soccer body, FIFA.

For other games including qualifiers, the Gold Cup, the SheBelieves Cup, Olympic qualifiers and friendlies, Buethe said natural grass isn’t mandated but strongly encouraged.

apple icon 144x144 precomposedFour venues selected to host games in the 2026 World Cup -- Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta; Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass.; NRG Stadium in Houston; and MetLife Stadium East Rutherford, N.J. – will switch from turf to grass for the event.

Atlanta and Houston are retractable roof stadiums.

But indoor venues have installed grass before.

The Pontiac Silverdome outside Detroit did so all the way back in 1994 when the U.S. last hosted the World Cup, and technological and botanical advancements since then make it less impractical. A translucent roof may help with that.

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