Michigan State University supplying grass for 2026 World Cup

“It’s come full circle”
Published: Feb. 9, 2023 at 5:20 PM EST
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EAST LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - The World Cup is coming back to North America in 2026 and Michigan State University is playing a big role in its return.

Michigan State University and the University of Tennessee were both selected to provide grass for the 2026 World Cup. They were both chosen because of their renowned programs and FIFA is funding an indoor testing facility at MSU to help further research.

“We definitely need it up sooner rather than later so we can get this testing going,” Ryan Bearss said.

Bearss has been working with the MSU turfgrass program for about 8 years.

“I’ve never looked back since,” said Bearss

The United States last hosted the world cup in 1994 and MSU professor Dr. Trey Rogers worked on the grass research.

“I would say it’s come full circle and even more gratifying than most people would ever know,” said Rogers.

Research on the grass has been going on for quite some time.

“Testing making sure it works and then retesting again,” said Bearss.

Rogers said the technology used in 1994 is also used in today’s research, but it is an evolving technology.

“The other big thing that will be part of the stadiums, the indoor stadiums - at least for the 2026 World Cup - will be lighting technology,” Rogers said. “None of this existed in 1994.”

“To be here now and to kind of see this deja vu moment it’s really full circle,” said Bearss.

Bearss said there is much more to come in the future.

The indoor testing facility at MSU is expected to be up and running by June of this year. The university said the building will help further along the FIFA project and many others to come.

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