In continuing the pre-season series that we have started here at www.cosmossoccerfan.com, I will be summarizing the other teams that the Cosmos will be playing in the NASL. I’ll try to bring you specific details about the club, their players, who was added this year, who was lost and other interesting things about their fan base or the club in general. I will leave these posts on my blog and will update them when significant things occur to those clubs. Further when the Cosmos have an upcoming match with those clubs, you can come to these entries to get a sense of who is on that opposing team and who you should be watching.
THE 2013 SEASON
Today we will be taking a look at Indy Eleven. The team will be starting play in the NASL now in the 2014 season. The team name alludes to the eleven men that take to the pitch to play the beautiful game but it also has a historical meaning in the state of Indiana. The team name pays homage to 11th Regiment of Indiana Volunteers, which fought for the Union Army during the Civil War. Indy will be playing their home matches at the Michael A. Carroll Track & Soccer Stadium on the campus of Indiana University. The stadium is able to seat 10,000 fans for a soccer match. Word from Indy is that they have already sold 7,000 season tickets for 2014. That means you will be seeing at least 7,000 fans every home game with a very strong possibility that every match might be close to sold out.
PLAYERS TO WATCH FOR IN 2014
Of course when you have a new team starting in a league, no one really knows what to expect. Indy Eleven feels they have done their homework and have assembled a squad that they feel is ready to compete this year. Just today Indy Eleven confirmed that they signed former Manchester United and Brazilian National player Jose Kleberson. Anyone who has ever played for the Brazilian national team is easily considered a player with credentials at some point in his career. However has the sun faded on Kleberson? That is a question that will have to be answered on the field. Kleberson is almost 10 years removed from Machester United and over 10 years removed from the Brazilian national team. Just recently he played for the MLS side Philadelphia Union, will he have what it takes to lead a team in the NASL?
Supplementing the attack for Indy is Pedro Ferreira-Mendes, a Brazilian striker who scored 12 goals for the Silverbacks last season and led the team to a Soccer Bowl Appearance. Pedro also happes to be the brother of Paulo Mendes on the New York Cosmos. The team also signed, Walter Ramírez, a Honduran midfielder who made 51 appearances for the San Antonio Scorpions over the past season and a half. Ramirez is a versatile player as he can also be used in defensive capacities as well. Next Indy went and secured a reliable player in between the posts in Kristian Nicht from Germany. Kristian played for many years in Germany’s Bundesliga and would see time in both the second division as well as top flights of the Bundesliga. He played on various teams in the Bundesliga such as Stuttgart Kickers, FC Nuremburg, Alemmania Aachen, Viking FK, and Karlruher FC. In 2012 Nicht, would play in the USL Professional Division here in the United States. While he was in the USL with the Rochester Rhinos last season he was named USL goal keeper of the year. There is no question that Nicht is a well versed veteran that will provide stability in the goal for Indy.
Erick Norales is an Honduran International defender who has played for the Honduran National team 29 times since 2007 and played his club ball prior with Honduran League giants Marathon. Again, someone with International experience will prove to be beneficial to Indy.
Other notable signings for Indy are Brad Ring who last played for the San Jose Earthquakes and Portland Timbers in MLS. Also Ben Spencer is a forward currently on loan from Molde of the Norwegian first division and played 6 games with 3 goals recently for the US U18 National Team.
Cosmos fans, this team is coming with some names. A former Manchester United player, a former Bundelisga player and a Honduran national player. The question mark for this team is can they gel all of these players together? Also does being years removed from these teams make these names players today and can they translate into results for Indy? Of course the Cosmos managed to do it with Marcos Senna so its not out of the realm. On paper, I say that this team may look good but can they put it together on the field. As a Cosmos fan of course I hope they do not. But as a fan of the NASL, I am hoping that signing all of these players does bode well for them and that it produces instant results. It would show the league that the Cosmos are not the only ones capable of signing players and bringing them to the NASL to compete and succeed.
OTHER INFORMATION ON THE TEAM
Not only is the team looking strong in their roster but their supporters group is coming in pretty strong as well. The umbrella supporters group goes by the name The Brickyard Battalion with 13 affiliates across Indy and the state. Total announced membership currently stands at 2,500 members. Assuming every member shows up, they could fill a quarter of their stadium with just supporters – that is a lot of noise! In speaking with one of the leaders of the Brickyard Battalion, his take on this year is the following:
“We plan on bringing the most intense home field atmosphere that this league has ever seen. Without kicking a single ball, 8000 season tickets were sold out for Indy Eleven games–so you might imagine that the anticipation in Indy has been growing.”
With this type of support both by management and by fans I think there is little question that Indy will be making some noise in the near future. Already they have developed a friendly rivalry with the San Antonio Scorpions since their supporters groups have been in touch with Indy’s over time and were very helpful with advice when the SG was launched. Once Indy steps on the field something tells me they will develop rivalries quickly with other teams and may just become a hated team much like to Cosmos did in 2013!
Special thanks goes out to Derek Richey, President of the Board of the Brickyard Battalion. With a team as new as Indy, his information was vital to constructing this piece. Many thanks to you Derek and you have a beer waiting for you when you come to NY!
The Cosmos will host Indy Eleven on Saturday, May 24th at 7:00pm as well as Saturday, October 4th at 8:00pm. The Cosmos will travel for the first time to Indy on Saturday October 20th at 8:00pm.