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Indy scores pro soccer team

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soccer2-15col.jpg Brickyard Battalion members celebrated in January when plans for the new team were announced at a press conference at the JW Marriott. (IBJ file photo)

Fueled by enthusiasm from a boisterous group of central Indiana soccer fanatics calling themselves the Brickyard Battalion, local real estate executive Ersal Ozdemir in late 2012 and early 2013 began laying ground work to launch a North American Soccer League franchise in Indianapolis.

By April, Ozdemir had hired Peter Wilt, a former president for Major League Soccer’s Chicago Fire, and named the team the Indy Eleven. The numerical name references the number of players soccer teams place on the field, but also recalls Indiana’s 11th Regiment in the Civil War, which posted significant contributions under the command of Hoosier-born Col. Lew Wallace.

Ozdemir, president of Keystone Realty Group, secured a deal to play the first couple of seasons at the track and soccer stadium at IUPUI, but said he hoped to build an 8,000- to 10,000-seat soccer stadium downtown within the next four years.

Ozdemir raised eyebrows in November when his company became one of four finalists to develop the former General Motors Stamping Plant on the southwest edge of downtown. A city official said an element of Ozdemir’s plan could accommodate a soccer stadium.

Enthusiasm for the team, which will begin play in April, remained strong through 2013, with the club selling out its supply of 7,000 season tickets and then starting a waiting list. The Eleven also signed big sponsors, including a three-year deal with Honda Manufacturing of Indiana and Central Indiana Honda Dealers.

As the year closed, Eleven officials announced their first player signings and a deal to have home and select away games televised on WNDY-TV Channel 23, the sister station of WISH-TV Channel 8.

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  1. The east side does have potential...and I have always thought Washington Scare should become an outlet mall. Anyone remember how popular Eastgate was? Well, Indy has no outlet malls, we have to go to Edinburgh for the deep discounts and I don't understand why. Jim is right. We need a few good eastsiders interested in actually making some noise and trying to change the commerce, culture and stereotypes of the East side. Irvington is very progressive and making great strides, why can't the far east side ride on their coat tails to make some changes?

  2. Boston.com has an article from 2010 where they talk about how Interactions moved to Massachusetts in the year prior. http://www.boston.com/business/technology/innoeco/2010/07/interactions_banks_63_million.html The article includes a link back to that Inside Indiana Business press release I linked to earlier, snarkily noting, "Guess this 2006 plan to create 200-plus new jobs in Indiana didn't exactly work out."

  3. I live on the east side and I have read all your comments. a local paper just did an article on Washington square mall with just as many comments and concerns. I am not sure if they are still around, but there was an east side coalition with good intentions to do good things on the east side. And there is a facebook post that called my eastside indy with many old members of the eastside who voice concerns about the east side of the city. We need to come together and not just complain and moan, but come up with actual concrete solutions, because what Dal said is very very true- the eastside could be a goldmine in the right hands. But if anyone is going damn, and change things, it is us eastside residents

  4. Please go back re-read your economics text book and the fine print on the February 2014 CBO report. A minimum wage increase has never resulted in a net job loss...

  5. The GOP at the Statehouse is more interested in PR to keep their majority, than using it to get anything good actually done. The State continues its downward spiral.

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