Longform is all the rage. It is a return to deep analysis, greater features and magazine style writing on the internet. Once a dying art it has been resurrected. MLSSoccer.com offers a weekly longform - The Word. This week's is a deep dive into the issue of artificial turf in North American soccer.
It addresses the simple origins of the anti-Turf movement, mixes in modern changes in Turf construction and points out that elite youth clubs are moving towards Turf at a rapid rate.
"I believe it's definitely a positive for development," outspoken Southern California youth coach Gary Kleiban explains in an email to MLSsoccer.com. "A smooth and quick surface is ideal for technical and tactical training in the formal environment. For instance, if you want to effectively teach possession-centered football, it's best if the players have a field that doesn't get in the way of properly executing technical and tactical activities. Turf is great in this regard.
"A natural field is great too, but only if it is well manicured."
There are cost considerations, but at a growing rate the play-ability concern is disappearing. In fact the youth, the future of MLS, the USMNT and CanMNT play a vast majority of their games on Turf.
Not all Turf is the same, but neither is all grass the same. Claudio Reyna is quoted as saying that he is the player he was because of that. But times are changing. The attitude of players is changing.
Is Turf the future? Maybe, but it certainly is not the bane of good soccer. Take a read. It's worth your eyeballs and time.