With the NASL floundering, the Indy Eleven jumped ship and joined the USL.
by Ryan Gregory January 19, 2018
Worry not, Indianapolis. The Indy Eleven are not going away anytime soon. There were speculations the team would fold, given the struggles of the North American Soccer League. But, they have found a new home in the United Soccer League. The movement is a lateral one, as both the NASL and USL are Division II.
“We are excited to begin a new chapter in our club’s history as we join the USL for the 2018 season,” said Indy Eleven Owner Ersal Ozdemir. “The USL’s remarkable growth on and off the field the past few years has gotten the attention of soccer fans everywhere. We look forward to helping the league continue this momentum as its visibility continues to rise both in the United States and around the world.”
Per seating requirements of the league, the Eleven will no longer play their home games at IUPUI’s Carroll Stadium. Instead, their home contests will now be held at Lucas Oil Stadium. With an average attendance of approximately 9,000, the Brickyard Battalion will have plenty of room to grow in the 70,000 seat stadium.
The Eleven are not alone in moving to the USL. Fresno FC, Las Vegas Lights FC, Nashville SC, North Carolina FC and ATL UTD 2 will also join the ranks. The new league is ideal for travel. In the NASL, the Eleven had long road trips to Canada, Puerto Rico, and San Francisco. In the USL, they are divided into eastern and western conferences. Cities like Louisville and Cincinnati have USL teams and should reduce travel distance and cost.
In addition to a new league and new stadium, the Eleven enter this season with a new head coach. Tim Hankinson’s two-year coaching tenure came to an end at the end of 2017. Martin Rennie will lead the Boys in Blue going forward. Rennie comes with experience, having already been head coach of the Cascade Surge, Cleveland City Stars, Carolina RailHawks, Vancouver Whitecaps FC, and Seoul E-Land FC.
“It’ll be nice to support a team in a league that is stable,” season ticket holder Mike Williams said. “ I look forward to making more road trips as the team will have games in Louisville and Cincinnati.”