One Olympic gold medalist’s crusade to end artificial turf in women’s soccer

Professional soccer player Sydney Leroux talks about life on the pitch, and the pitch itself.

Mar 1, 2020, 2:15 am*

Internet Culture

Vice Sports/YouTube

Sydney Leroux is great at scoring goals, and she has a strong preference for scoring those on real grass.

The U.S. Olympic gold medalist and striker for the Western New York Flash has emerged as somewhat of a spokeswoman in the debate over the use of artificial grass as a playing surface in the Women’s World Cup, following a widely shared 2013 tweet showing her bruised and bloodied legs following a match on turf.  

Ouch.

“For us to be playing the biggest tournament for women’s soccer on artificial grass is unacceptable,” Leroux says. “The same is completely different. It’s fake, so you don’t know how it’s going to bounce. You don’t know how it’s going to run. It’s terrible on your body. You’re running basically on cement. …

“The men would never play on artificial turf.”

In a video partnership between Vice Sports and Scotts, Leroux reflects on hardships and victories throughout her career, from battling racism and gaining her U.S. citizenship to tattoos and turf burn. She’s as real it gets.

Screengrab via Vice Sports/YouTube

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*First Published: Jun 5, 2015, 9:00 am