Last week reports broke from source that Indy Eleven, who fired the first head coach of the club in the middle of the season, was appointing a new man at the helm as 'seasoned' Tim Hankinson would be taking over for interim head coach Tim Regan with further reports speculating that Regan would assume his role as assistant coach once again.
Now, back to present day and no movement has been made publicly to either completely confirm nor deny these reports. So whether or not the news of the appointment squeaked out unintentionally or the club chose to leak it early, fans (and most certainly players) now much be left wondering 17 days away from a two day tryout for Indy Eleven and Indy Eleven NPSL who will be leading the team into battle ahead of their third season.
I am Team Regan for the sole fact that I believe that this team has had so much turnover in terms of leadership that the most consistent thing to do regardless of the right or wrong of it is to give him the keys for a year. Tim brought a new confidence to the team with flashes of offensive brilliance that allowed him to show what shell this team was in before Sommer was fired.
He brought the harmony of the team out and brought up the energy for the most part. Whether it was a system - wrong players or wrong system - right players issue with his tactics is another thing to look at but disregarding the table which didn't change from last year to this year, Tim Regan did everything you would want from someone taking over mid season and rebuilding a team that had obviously had it's confidence shaken.
Sooner rather than later
It's lightly circulated that Indy Eleven will "make an announcement" this week, but regardless the leader of your team needs to be put into place as soon as possible if you are making a switch. Indy Eleven told me close to the end of the season that the head coaching status of Tim Regan would be decided at the end of the season. Let's hope we see a name pop out of the hat this week.
Consistency be the key
One of the common threads among supporters was the lack of consistency in play and selection for Indy Eleven this season. Unlike in year one, where most of the time the starting eleven was pretty well set given the smaller squad size (as squad talent) year two presented a new problem as the team actually had justification for many of the players they had to get the starting nod week to week.
Outspoken about his selection criteria, Tim Regan made it abundantly clear each week that "the best eleven players will start each week." selecting around practice and the week before's game. Now whether or not Dane Richards (a natural winger and now a former Redbull) was always the best selection for striker is up in the air, this left the starting eleven to be decided by straw picking rather than building a spine for the club to work around.
Names like Brad Ring, Erick Norales, Cory Miller and while not out injuried, Dylan Mares were often seen each week regardless but for a bulk creative spots flexed back and forth week to week not allowing for a lot of team chemistry and thus ruining any of the creative energy that would otherwise be held with a team that has a regular eight, nine, or ten players that are staples of the team.
Whichever Tim is calling the shots this season needs to understand that while a player might shine in practice, practices aren't games. Should they hold that same quality week to week brings justification for selection but ruining the cohesion between your creators and forwards.
A whole new Eleven
For Indy Eleven to even just make a little nudge more of success a few things need to happen.
- Resign players like Brad Ring, Erick Norales, and anyone else that is a part of that spine. Having players who have not only played in the North American Soccer League but also know what Indy Eleven is about can help ease in young players into getting comfortable.
- Find a consistent nine to ten players and STICK.WITH.THEM. Selection week to week was like watching a wheel spin around and land on a player's name. While it could catch a team off guard, it also caught many players off guard by not being able to help build chemistry which (outside of an uncomfortable fear of shooting the ball) was the biggest pitfall of the team.
- Stop trying to fill craters with water. The loan deals for Indy Eleven last year (while providing home-grown talent like Zach Steinberger) were all temporary fixes for a bigger issue and in the case of players like Charlie Rugg kept a spot on the bench warm rather than provide for the team in the long run.
We should know by the end of the week who will be the third (second official head coach) of Indy Eleven. For now, we can only continue to speculate on the whos, whats, wheres, whens, and most imporantly...whys. Thanks for reading.