In case you missed it yesterday afternoon, Indy Eleven announced that Tim Hankinson will be the team's third head coach (second officially titled head coach) in franchise history. Hankinson comes from a grocery list of teams including colleges, success in MLS, as well as international experience. He arrives from Montego Bay of the Jamaican Premier League where he led Montego Bay to a successful 7-4-2 run before leaving as quickly as he arrived to return back to the states. Hankinson is no stranger to the North American Soccer League, having led the (soon to be) defunct San Antonio Scorpions in 2011.
Tim Hankinson quickly put down a foundation in a shaky club scene, retaining interim head coach Tim Regan as his assistant to allow the transition to stay smoothly. No real news is known where Kleberson is at this point but one can only assume he won't be appearing on the field as a player for Indy Eleven.
Hankinson did to reveal his grand scheme farther than you would expect from a new coach, saying that he was grateful for the fans and the Brickyard Battalion and wants to help grow the game long term in the city. You can watch the press conference in full here.
Takeaways from yesterday:
Tim clearly wants to avoid any major foundation shakeup. Retaining Tim Regan was the first step in that as a major concern of most fans seemed to be retaining the young coach in the system. Regan did well in the interim after the Sommer firing, not moving the needle table wise but showing what the team should have been doing with Sommer. Clearly though, Regan was never the solution.
One of the things that did keep appearing in media from yesterday was Hankinson's statements about bringing more mature players. It's no shocker to many that the financial status of many teams in the North American Soccer League outside of the Cosmos and Minnesota United often restrict what can done from a signing standpoint, Indy Eleven has been struggle to keep up with the financials of the league since the beginning.
This morning on Tony Katz on WIBC in Indianapolis, Wilt and Hankinson appeared to be confident of the budget increase. On top of dropping the salary of Jose Kleberson who was a bulk of the first two year's budget, Wilt spoke about an increase "of about 50%" for salary. Projections bring that up over a health million dollars for the club based on different projections and estimations.
Regardless of the increase, Hankinson was very clear that maturity and experience were the two things this club lacked on the field and the two things he'd be bringing to the forefront early on. It is pretty clear that Hankinson at least has a general understanding of some of the issues the team has.
Tactically the team has always struggled with the fluidity of play building. 30+ goals in a season isn't anything to slouch at but dropping that many seemed to keep that number from seeming as positive as fans would like.
Hankinson's made it pretty clear that he will be designing the team to do what Sommer aimed to have happen in year two and build from the back. I would love to see the team build from the middle and help achieve more confidence there. Not to be over looked though is the success of the wings that caused the ball to get closer through the work of Kyle Hyland.
Regardless, yesterday put another feather into the Indy Eleven cap and helped them begin to build a real foundation and spine of a team that has struggled to have a spine at all. We will know in the coming weeks about the new names coming in and we will know as early as later today (12/3/2015) about what names will be retained.
Regardless, with the lose of a huge part of the back line in Erick Norales as well as the club's first signing and a great representation in Kristian Nicht, the names coming in have rather large shoes to fill on the field and off the field in the eyes of the most important people in any club
PS... I couldn't let this go unnoticed. Thanks "local media coverage"