Indy Eleven hasn’t even played a single game, but already many see the team moving past the NASL and toward MLS in the coming decade.
Indy Eleven opens its history this Saturday night at IUPUI’s Carroll Stadium, hosting the Carolina RailHawks. Carroll Stadium isn’t seen as the long-term home for the team, whose owners have proposed an $87-million downtown stadium. Given that MLS plans to expand to 24 teams by 2020, there’s some room for Indy Eleven owners to work on a new-stadium plan in plenty of time for expansion.
For now, though, the Indy Eleven ownership sounds happy to be playing at the NASL level, per the Indy Star:
In a conference call Tuesday, NASL commissioner Bill Peterson conceded an ultimate move by the Eleven to MLS “could happen” but that it doesn’t concern him. He said Eleven owner Ersal Ozdemir “likes this league” and has been active as a board member.
But if a team wants to join a different league, “there’s a pathway to do that,” Peterson said.
When it was announced on Jan. 16, 2013, that Indianapolis was launching a NASL franchise, Ozdemir said the goal was to be successful in that league. It is a stance the club has maintained. Earlier this week, the Eleven’s Twitter account posted that helping the NASL “grow to its fullest is our lone ambition.”