Monday, November 16, 2015

Indy Eleven-Indy Fire Partnership: Step in the right

Photo provided by Indy Eleven

November 16th marked a new step in the history of Indy Eleven as the club announced their first foray into a "reserve" system by maintaining the membership fee and rebranding NPSL's Indiana Fire to Indy Eleven NPSL.

This news is the club's first step outside of maintaining it's own club and fuels more speculation into the debate of whether or not the North American Soccer League will make official a partnership between the amateur league on the second division professional squad. 

“The addition of Indy Eleven NPSL will deepen Indy Eleven’s connections with the top collegiate programs and players across the country, with a particular focus on the Midwest,” said Indy Eleven President and General Manager Peter Wilt. “Indy Eleven will provide the resources necessary to make the successful program Mark Webber and John Simmonds have built in the last two years even stronger.” (Source)

The move signals a notion of stability as the team looks to ingrain it's roots into Indiana as a hub for soccer. The team already trained in the area that Indy Eleven NPSL held matches and even worked out a few players late in the season this year. 

 “Our NPSL team has had outstanding partners in the Chicago Fire and Indiana Fire Juniors the last two years.  The guidance and financial support from the Fire and talent provided by Indiana Fire players has been an invaluable part of our initial success,” said Webber. “This new relationship with Indy Eleven expands our organization to a ‘State of Indiana team’ as opposed to a team embodied by one club.”  (Source)

It's unclear of the future this partnership will have. At the time of this writing, it's pretty clear that Indy Eleven won't be able to have players play officially for Indy Eleven NPSL, but might offer training for players coming off knocks. 

The move also shows that Indy Eleven may not have the desire to experiment bringing in the Raul's of the world and would rather exploit the youth of the soccer universe in the midwest region. I think it's a great step towards putting down a huge foundation on soccer in Indiana and really becoming a bigger threat in the world of soccer in the United States. 

One note, and this is purely speculative, is the absence of Indy Eleven's interim head coach and director of football Tim Regan from the release. Regan, who took over for the club's first head coach Juergen Sommer, led the team valiantly into the rest of the spring and the entirety of the Fall Season is awaiting the decision if he will become the new head coach for team. 

In an email exchange with the club, they told me a few weeks back (before the season ended) that it would be a post season decision. I can only imagine that this decision will be made before the Indy Eleven/Indy Eleven NPSL joint two day tryout on December 19th, but we will see. 


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