INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (WLFI) - Bill Peterson, commissioner of the North American Soccer League (NASL), announced on Wednesday that he has approved the entry of Indianapolis to join the men's professional soccer league for the 2014 season.
The new Indiana franchise, owned by Ersal Ozdemir, chief executive officer of Keystone Group LLC., is the 12th team to join the NASL. Other teams include the Atlanta Silverbacks, defending champion Tampa Bay Rowdies, San Antonio Scorpions and New York Cosmos.
"The NASL is experiencing tremendous growth and the addition of Indianapolis will contribute greatly to that positive aspect of our business over the next few years," said Peterson. "We have all witnessed great sporting moments in Indianapolis over the years and in that same vein, the support for this team has been overwhelming. With the strong leadership of Ersal Ozdemir I expect this team to be an overwhelming success and a wonderful part of the sporting legacy in Indiana."
"Bringing a professional soccer team to Indiana raises the profile of our state globally," said Indiana Governor Mike Pence. "A growing number of our state's youth soccer players will soon be able to witness professional soccer firsthand. Families, young adults and soccer diehards from every corner of our state will now have a local team to call their own."
Ozdemir has led efforts, along with Peter Wilt, a soccer consultant to be named the team's president, to meet with stakeholders from Indiana's soccer community and gain regional support.
"Indiana is home to the current and eight-time NCAA Men's Soccer champions – Indiana University, numerous World Cup players and more than 60,000 youth soccer players," said Ozdemir. "I want to offer our sports-minded city and soccer community the opportunity to truly experience this beautiful game in a fun, safe and family friendly environment. Professional soccer's national popularity has grown exponentially over the last several decades. I want Indianapolis to be part of the world's game and home to Indiana's team."
"Indianapolis' success as a city in many ways is defined by our long-term blueprint focused on sports, both professional and amateur. Our large sports presence greatly impacts the community, from its effect on teams, players and facilities to quality of life for residents including our local sports hospitality workers," said Mayor Greg Ballard. "Bringing professional soccer to Indianapolis is a key step toward expanding our successful sports strategy and reflects the interests of our expanding demographic population as our businesses and universities recruit top talent from around the world."
For the 2014 season, Indy Pro Soccer is in discussions with Indiana University to play its home games at Michael Carroll Stadium located on the campus of Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI).
"We are working with our friends at Indiana University to ensure that Carroll Stadium is ready for the team and the fans, and to provide an incredible soccer experience in downtown Indianapolis," said Ozdemir. "To meet our goals, a new stadium will provide the best opportunity for success."
The franchise is asking soccer fans from across the state to vote in an advisory poll on the team's official name at IndyProSoccer.com. The team name will be announced in the coming months.
A team coach will be selected later this year, followed by player selection. Players will reflect Indiana's diverse population, including Hoosier natives, players from universities in Indiana, and recruits from other states and countries.
A $25 deposit will reserve a single season ticket for 2014. The deposit will also secure a priority seat selection number that will determine a fan's position for seat selection later this year. Fans are encouraged to place their deposits early to assure their seats for the team's inaugural season.
Season tickets range from $135 to $390 for 15 home games. Individual ticket prices range from $10 to $30. A limited number of suites and high-end club seats will also be offered with additional amenities.
Season tickets for the inaugural 2014 season can be reserved at the team's website: www.indyprosoccer.com.
Indiana Governor Mike Pence (R) proposed a pre-K voucher program as part of his 2014 agenda. The program would give underprivileged children access to pre-K programs.
Several generations gathered Saturday to remember a day that will live in infamy. The day marked 72 years since the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Almost Home is holding an open house with special adoption deals.