Today, the North American Soccer League announced that Indianapolis would be the league’s newest expansion franchise, scheduled to begin play beginning with the 2014 season. The announcement was made in conjunction with the NASL AGM and National Soccer Coaches Association of American convention, which kicked off today in Indianapolis.
In attendance were NASL Commissioner Bill Peterson and principal team owner Ersal Ozdemir, chief executive officer of Keystone Group LLC.
“Indiana is home to the current and eight-time NCAA Men’s Soccer champions — Indiana University, numerous World Cup players and more than 60,000 youth soccer players,” said Ozdemir in a statement. “I want to offer our sports-minded city and soccer community the opportunity to truly experience this beautiful game in a fun, safe and family friendly environment. Professional soccer’s national popularity has grown exponentially over the last several decades. I want Indianapolis to be part of the world’s game and home to Indiana’s team.”
Fans are being invited to vote on the team name. Interestingly, the name options do not include “Racing Indy FC,” the moniker previously advocated by The Brickyard Battalion, the supporters group behind the grassroots movement to bring pro soccer to Indianapolis.
According to the NASL press release, Indy Pro Soccer is in discussions with Indiana University to play its 2014 home games at Michael Carroll Stadium located on the campus of Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI). In recent weeks, the two sites under consideration were Carroll Stadium and the nearby Butler Bowl. However, the long-term goal is to construct a downtown stadium.
Soccer consultant Peter Wilt, who has been on the ground in Indianapolis for months heading the club’s publicity campaign, will be named the team’s general manager. A team coach will be selected later this year.
Indianapolis joins three other franchises slated to begin play in the NASL between now and 2014: the New York Cosmos, currently set to kickoff in August 2013, and clubs in Ottawa and Loudoun County, Va. that are also scheduled to open in 2014.