In a press release, Indy Eleven owner Ersal Ozdemir said, “We are excited to begin a new chapter in our club’s history as we join the USL for the 2018 season. The USL’s remarkable growth on and off the field over recent seasons has been impressive to observe. We look forward to helping the league continue that positive momentum as its visibility continues to rise both in the United States and around the world.”
According to team officials, since its founding in 2013, Indy Eleven has averaged approximately 9,170 fans per game across the four seasons, making it one of the strongest-supported lower club teams in North America. It won the 2016 Spring season title and reached the 2016 North American Soccer League (NASL) title game under Tim Hankinson, who was named head coach in December 2015. However, the team announced in November 2017 that they had not renewed Hankinson’s contract, leaving a vacant coaching position that has yet to be filled.
“Today, we are delighted to announce the addition of another tremendous organization to the USL,” said USL Chief Executive Officer Alec Papadakis in a press release. “The work that has been done by owner Ersal Ozdemir and President Jeff Belskus to establish the Indy Eleven in the heartland of America has been incredibly impressive, as has the club’s commitment to its fans and local community. Indy Eleven brings all of the qualities that make a club successful in the USL and will add tremendously to the league’s rivalries in the region.”
Founded in 2010, the USL sits just under Major League Soccer (MLS) in the professional soccer system hierarchy and is comprised of 33 teams throughout the United States and Canada, with plans for additional expansion over the next three years. With passionate fans known as the Brickyard Battalion, no doubt the move to the USL with better competition will make for exciting matches at Carroll Stadium on the campus of IUPUI in downtown Indianapolis. Score!