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Work crews Tuesday finished laying 26,000 square feet of sod at Kino Sports Complex, to convert a baseball diamond into a soccer field.

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North Field #5, north of Kino Stadium, will be home to FC Tucson, a semi-pro soccer team, which begins league play in Tucson on May 19.

The clay infield previously had been replaced with 800 tons of sand. Part of the reason for the clay removal is a combination of Tucson's hot summer and monsoon activity.

“If we were to lay the sod on the clay...we’d get a raised water table,” says Chris Bartos, director of the Pima County Stadium District. “There’d be all kinds of issues in trying to keep the grass green and safe ... and impacting games.”

With the new turf, fencing, gates and bleachers, the field will meet FIFA standards for international soccer competition, Bartos says. When all the seating is in place, the field is expected to hold up to 2,500 spectators.

The field’s transformation is a collaborative effort between the Stadium District, Pima County and FC Tucson. The soccer team’s first home game at the new field will be May 19 at 7 p.m., against the Southern California Seahorses.