Time to make plans: the North American Soccer League Spring Season gets underway on the weekend of April 12-13, with the NASL newcomers Indy Eleven and Ottawa Fury FC.
The NASL newcomers gives the circuit 10 teams for the first time since the league re-launched three years ago.
The addition of the two NASL newcomers, plus some upgrades for previous teams, seems to have given the circuit a boost both on the field and in the front offices.
“I think it’s an exciting time for the league,” said Minnesota United FC coach Manny Lagos, who is one of only two coaches who has been with the same NASL club since 2011. “We’ve got Ottawa and Indy coming in and they look like outstanding organizations, they’ve done a great job on the front office side and they’re revving it up on the team side. I think that kind of excitement from two great new markets coming into the league is only going to add to the product and the challenges that we have and we’re looking forward to them.”
Launched in January 2013, Indy Eleven adopted its official name on April 25, 2013 during a ceremony held at the iconic Soldiers and Sailors Monument — 152 years to the day since the initial enlistment of the 11th Indiana Regiment during the Civil War.
Following the appointment of the club’s first coach, the former U.S. national team goalkeeper Juergen Sommer, Indy Eleven has molded its rookie squad with a blend of young talent and players with international experience at the highest level, such as 2002 World Cup champion Kleberson of Brazil. The former Manchester United midfielder has already found the target during preseason and is sure to excite the Indy Eleven faithful.
“Our expectations are simple — to be very competitive and put a good product on the field,” said Sommer. “We want to provide entertainment for the fans and put ourselves in a position to really showcase ourselves in the spring season.”
Indy Eleven already has 7,000 confirmed season ticket holders for their inaugural campaign, which and expect IU Michael A. Carroll Soccer Stadium in Indianapolis to be packed tight on April 12 for the opening day visit of the Carolina RailHawks.
Meanwhile, Ottawa Fury FC makes its debut as the second Canadian side in the NASL and is set to play home encounters at Carleton University this spring before moving to the newly constructed 24,000-seat TD Place for the fall campaign.
Fury FC brought in Canadian Marc Dos Santos to handle the coaching duties and he commented: “2014 will be an exciting season for Fury FC as we begin play in the NASL. While we are an expansion club, we feel that we have put together a squad that contains players that possess the experience, talent, passion and intensity necessary to make Fury FC a competitive team from the start.”