Indy Eleven Professional Soccer bolstered its player development efforts today by announcing it will field a team in the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) beginning in 2016.
The NPSL is a national league in the fourth division of US Soccer’s pyramid consisting of more than 60 professional and amateur teams. Indy Eleven NPSL will immediately assume the league membership of the outfit previously known as Indiana Fire NPSL and retain the team’s leadership duo of General Manager Mark Webber and Head Coach John Simmonds.
“The addition of Indy Eleven NPSL will deepen Indy Eleven’s connections with the top collegiate programs and players across the country, with a particular focus on the Midwest,” said Indy Eleven President and General Manager Peter Wilt. “Indy Eleven will provide the resources necessary to make the successful program Mark Webber and John Simmonds have built in the last two years even stronger.”
Fans are invited to help Indy Eleven officially welcome the NPSL group into the club’s family tomorrow, Tuesday, Nov. 17, during a launch event at the Chatham Tap – Fishers (8211 E. 116th Street in Fishers) starting at 6:30 p.m. ET. Indy Eleven Owner Ersal Ozdemir will join Wilt, Webber and Simmonds at the event, where the leadership group will provide background on the Indy Eleven NPSL team and answer questions from fans during halftime of the U.S. Men’s National Team World Cup Qualifying match against Trinidad & Tobago at approximately 7:15 p.m.
“Our NPSL team has had outstanding partners in the Chicago Fire and Indiana Fire Juniors the last two years. The guidance and financial support from the Fire and talent provided by Indiana Fire players has been an invaluable part of our initial success,” said Webber. “This new relationship with Indy Eleven expands our organization to a ‘State of Indiana team’ as opposed to a team embodied by one club.”
The search for talent to stock both the Indy Eleven and Indy Eleven NPSL rosters in 2016 will begin December 19-20, when the two teams will host a joint two-day tryout. For the $100 registration fee, participants will receive an Indy Eleven/Indy Eleven NPSL training top and full day of evaluation on Saturday, Dec. 19, followed by a half-day session on Sunday, Dec. 20. Details regarding an indoor location and online registration for the tryouts will be made available next week via IndyEleven.com and Indy Eleven’s social media channels.
“Developing a partnership with Indy Eleven, Indiana’s only professional soccer organization, is an exciting development for our team,” said Simmonds, who has been the NPSL team’s head coach since its inception in 2013. “This relationship will help significantly as we continue to identify college players and other amateurs who have the potential to move up the professional ranks, starting from the NPSL level. 2016 will be a landmark season for Indy Eleven NPSL as we begin this new partnership with Indy Eleven, prepare to compete in our first U.S. Open Cup game and defend our NPSL Midwest Region championship.”
In two short seasons, the now Indy Eleven NPSL program has established itself as one of the burgeoning powers in the NPSL. After going 7-4-3 during its first season in 2014, the squad finished 2015 with a 10-3-3 record and their first Midwest Region championship, earning the club a spot in the NPSL National Semifinals. Thanks to its regional title, Indy Eleven NPSL earned one of the league’s eight berths into the 2016 edition of the prestigious Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, US Soccer’s national championship tournament that is open to professional and amateur clubs.
In conjunction with today’s Indy Eleven NPSL introduction, Indy Eleven also announced a ticketing partnership with Indiana Fire Juniors, one off the largest youth soccer clubs in Central Indiana. The new program will see each of the more than 1,200 players that participate in the Indiana Fire Juniors’ recreational and travel leagues with a ticket to an Indy Eleven game at IUPUI’s Carroll Stadium in 2016.