There were plenty of new faces on display when visiting the Indy Eleven recently at their practice facility on the campus of the Grand Park in Westfield, and certainly no shortage of enthusiasm to boot, as they approach their home opener of 2019 USL season. The common denominator is high expectations, as well as a sense of urgency, amongst a roster that has over a dozen new faces and a second-year coach who likes his personnel and their chances moving forward.
"There's a number of good players on this team who will have an excellent opportunity to distinguish themselves," stated head coach Martin Rennie, who is in his second season with the club. "We are optimistic about our chances and are ready to give it a go."
Some of the key additions include midfielder Tyler Gibson, who played last year in Cincinnati, and goalkeeper Evan Newton, who also spent the last campaign in the Queen City. Forwards Dane Kelly and Thomas Enevoldsen, both acquired this past January, will further bolster a roster that will be both competitive and fun to watch.
Notes: Gibson spoke warmly of his recent trek to Ethiopia with Athletes in Action in December, in which they worked with coaches. He termed the experience "eye opening" and felt the trek was a successful venture for all involved.
Head coach Martin Rennie, who hails from Scotland, is an extremely engaging individual in addition to being an accomplished soccer coach. We discussed our mutual appreciation for Formula One racing and the legendary Scottish driver Jim Clark.
The most interesting discussion I had was with veteran midfielder Matt Watson, who at age 35 is indeed the elder statesman of the team. Watson spoke of his love of the game and wanting to give back to it in the twilight of his professional career.
The Indy Eleven split their first two games of the season, both on the road, against St Louis FC and Charlotte Independence. While they dropped a close contest against FC, they rebounded with a victory against the Independence.
WISH-TV and My Indy-TV 23 will combine to televise 20 games this year. More information about the broadcasts can be found at indyeleven.com.
The Indy Eleven home opener is slated for 7 p.m. March 30 at Lucas Oil Stadium against Hartford Athletic. Tickets are available at the Lucas Oil Stadium box office or through ticketmaster.com, and start at just $15.
Danny Bridges, who promised numerous Indy Eleven players and their coach he would check out a game in person this season, can be reached at 317-370-8447, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.