WESTFIELD, Ind. (WISH) – The Indy Eleven, Indianapolis’ professional soccer team, won its first exhibition game Saturday night. They beat the Tourbeau Soccer Academy 2-0 at Westfield High School.
The game was the team’s first chance to shake off the jitters, and a ‘first’ for the fans, many of whom have been working to bring a professional soccer team to Indianapolis.
“We’ve had fun and I think that’s all that matters,” said Peter Evans, Minister of Gameday Operations for the Brickyard Battalion, a grassroots fan group that coordinated 38 in-game chants through audio files sent on Twitter.
“Some of the chants come from general soccer culture, some come from clubs around the world and we adopt them to fit the Indy Eleven,” says Evans.
The goal of the Battalion is to cheer for the entire 90 minutes of play, pausing only to call out the next chant.
“We have a great crowd,” said Peter Wilt, President and General Manager of the IndyEleven. “Every game we play we’ll get a little bit closer to what the real game experience will be like on and off the field.”
Saturday night’s game was the organization’s first opportunity to put together the basic game day timeline, including player introductions and coordination of volunteers and security staff.
“The preseason is a dry run. We’re trying to get through the bumps and the cracks in the system a little bit,” said Wilt.
The Indy Eleven will host two more preseason exhibition games before it’s season opener on April 12 against the Carolina RailHawks at Carroll Stadium.
On April 1, the team will play MLS team the Chicago Fire at Purdue’s Boilermaker Soccer Complex, starting at 7:30 p.m. Up to 2,000 tickets will be made available for that game.
On April 4, the Indy Eleven will host the IU Men’s Soccer Team at Carroll Stadium in a game where tickets were only made available to the team’s 7,000 season ticket holders.
“Each game the crowds are only going to get better until we get to our sold out crowd for our home opener and that experience is going to be unreal,” says Wilt.
Wilt says the team has signed 16 players and has five more to go to complete the team.
Even through the preseason, the Battalion will be sure to cheer on the team to victory.
“We’re a group committed to providing not only the best soccer support that you can in the country for our club, but also to make our city — which we think is the best city on the face of the earth — a much better place to be,” says Evans.
Portions of the proceeds from Saturday’s exhibition match will go towards the Westfield Youth Soccer Association and the Indiana Soccer Foundation, which is working with Indy Eleven to build a soccer field at an Indianapolis park for use by the entire community.