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2012 video suggests Kyle’s support for fake turf isn’t artificial

Kayla Kyle (

Photo by Stephen Brashear/


When the news emerged that Canadian National Team midfielder Kaylyn Kyle had signed an endorsement deal with artificial turf maker FieldTurf, the criticism was swift.

After all, Kyle’s federation plans to host the 2015 Women’s World Cup on artificial turf, including FieldTurf — a decision that has sparked controversy from players who have decried it as gender discrimination.

Lawyers representing a group threatening to sue over the issue blasted Kyle, saying a tweet from last year showing scrapes on her shins was evidence the endorsement rings false because she must really hate turf.

There is evidence to suggest that those assertions were wrong, and assumptions about Kyle’s true feelings about artificial turf were off the mark.

Kyle has been a fan of turf going back 2012, telling reporters before CONCACAF Olympic qualifiers that the adjustment from grass to turf was easy because she preferred it.

“I’m the wrong person to ask,” Kyle said when asked about turf in the January 2012 video posted by Red Nation Online. “I love playing on turf. You don’t get the weird bounces. It’s a faster game. You get great balls. It’s easier to get the ball up, I find.”

“I’m biased. I love it.”

Kyle signed a three-year, $15,000 endorsement deal to help market FieldTurf, TSN reported Thursday. FieldTurf will be used at four of the six stadiums at the 2015 Women’s World Cup.

“This is not a big dollar category for her or for us, so for her to want to put her name on this, obviously there could be some exposure because of the issue,” Darren Gill, vice president of marketing with FieldTurf, told TSN. “She wanted to believe in the product she backs.”

In light of her 2012 comments about turf, it appears her now-deleted tweet with the caption “I love turf” may not have not been meant the way it was taken after news of her endorsement deal broke. Kyle declined to comment on her endorsement deal.

The battle over artificial turf at the World Cup has been a contentious one that has slowly gained traction since a group of players threatened legal action against FIFA and the Canadian Soccer Association last month. The group includes mostly Americans, such as Abby Wambach and Alex Morgan, but includes players from other countries, such as Germany’s Nadine Angerer and Spain’s Vero Boquete.

The attorneys for that group of players had come out strong against Kyle, implying the endorsement deal changed her tune and her deleted tweet was evidence she shared the belief that artificial turf is inferior.

Canada was the only viable bid for the 2015 Women’s World Cup. The only other bid was Zimbabwe, which later removed itself from consideration.

FIFA President Sepp Blatter has been adamant that artificial turf will play a bigger role in soccer in years to come. No men’s World Cup has ever been held on artificial turf and the upcoming men’s World Cup tournaments through 2022 are planned to be on grass. Both men’s and women’s World Cup qualifiers have been played on artificial turf before.

“It used to be the case that playing on artificial turf was a nightmare,” Blatter told reporters last month in Canada. “The quality was poor; it was no better than a carpet. But the quality has improved vastly since then. Artificial pitches are the future. Wherever football is played, all over the world, there is an increasing lack of space for training and competitive pitches.”

The Wambach-led players group has threatened to sue, with them requesting response from FIFA and Canadian Soccer Association by Aug. 4. Morgan said last week the group received no response. No lawsuit has yet been filed.

As for Kyle, her decision to endorse artificial turf has gone over about as poorly as could have been expected in women’s soccer circles. But based on the video that surfaced showing her support for artificial turf — video that came to light after her deleted tweet was circulated — it would appear Kyle’s support of turf isn’t simply a case of an athlete’s opinion being swayed by money.


  1. The inner city kids play on the city parks with turf the suberban kids without the turf are jealous. Seriously.

  2. I don’t get the big deal. One player says she likes it and gets paid to say so. Happens in every sport. The real story here is the president of fifa Blatter. He’s basically advocating for FieldTurf when he should be banning it from the game.

  3. $15K for three years?? What a joke. Talk about unequal treatment.

    Is there a male player that had signed such a pathetic endorsement contract?

  4. Turf is so much better than the grass/dirt/rock/potholes that most soccer games are played on it is not even close. Sliding on most grass fields is risky, sometimes it is OK, sometimes you get cut by the rocks or other debris.

    The exceptions are the very expensive to maintain, high end grass fields that are well-cared for and that see little use are fantastic. And of course the old astro-turf laid over a concrete or asphalt surface is not very forgiving and is so hard and fast it changes how the game must be played.

    For WC games and top professional teams that can afford to maintain grass well, it is great. But most of the players in the world play on grass fields that are vastly inferior to modern artificial turf. Only a tiny fraction of non-professional players ever get a chance to play on a perfect grass field. (Turf can get hotter than grass, so in the summer-time that can be an issue.)

    So endorsing artificial turf for most fields is not inconsistent with wanting to play of perfect grass fields when they are available.

    • I’ll take sometimes you cut by the rocks over always you lose the top 3 layers of skin any day. And the bounce, THE BOUNCE!! I can’t stand the bounce…. (see Danny Cepero vs Columbus 2008, or any Sounders game)

    • You miss a fundamental advantage to those fields. They pose adversity and surprise for players. From a development point of view, that can actually make better players, who can adapt better to challenges and frustrations. It can also help them become more creative because a ball that they expect to go one way goes another and then they have to reinvent on a dime. Those are assets.

    • Ya, but its half the fact that turf does in fact traditionally mean grass. The industry needs to choose a word for artificial surfaces and stick to it.

      Turf is so bad but everyone would have to start wearing tights like Robben does.
      It might look a bit… weird.

  5. Good for her. If she wants money from a turf company and she truly believes in the stuff, fine. It still doesn’t justifies FIFA’s treatment of the Women’s World Cup and the women’s game as a whole.

    When you get down the bare bones of this case, it’s not even court case about turf or whether or not turf causes more or less injuries. It’s a gender equality case. FIFA is knowingly placing these games on turf after Brazil 2014 had all grass. If the men’s tournament is all grass, then Canada 2015 (the competition ONE YEAR AFTER) should be on grass. That’s what the case is all about.

    If there was a separate independent world soccer organization for women, like a WFIFA or something, and this organization purposely did it on turf for expense reasons, that’s fine. They wouldn’t have a case. But FIFA did it.

    I don’t care if your Sunday team plays on turf. I don’t care if your crappy division III college soccer team plays on turf. I don’t even care if Euro 2016 qualifiers are on turf. This is the highest most prestigious women’s soccer tournament in the world. If FIFA has Brazil 2014 to be played on grass, then so should Canada 2015. It’s nothing to do with turf being the future of soccer. It’s about treating the men’s and the women’s game THE SAME.

    • the world cup in russia will be in turf as well. I agree with women have a discrimination case. I just think the case is stupid since turf is obviously better than grass.

    • Water, and the scarcity of it in the future will be a balance sheet factor for most stadia in the future .. Take your average water bill and multiply that times thousands and tell me that won’t be a figure that doesn’t have a direct impact on the game

      • + 0.5 Well you’ve brought up a pretty good point that has not been made, but you’ve made a bit of a mess of it. For starters, water expense is an income statement item not a balance sheet consdideration. And Canada is one of the few places that most climate studies actually foresee an increase in the already abundant water supply. But indeed, this will become an increasingly serious concern and a good case for field turf globally. The “times thousands” factor is overstated… at the hopefully distant point, we will have far more serious concerns than what we are using for soccer surfaces.

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