Indy 11 debut was memorable

Writers recount their experience at pro soccer’s first game in town since 2004




Editor’s note: Senior Sydney Johnson and sophomore Caroline Crouch were starters on this year’s girls soccer team. They attended Saturday’s home opener for the Indy 11 and here they write about their first experience covering a professional sport.

After a chaotic, traffic-filled 30 minute journey just to find a parking spot, we were finally able to enter Carroll Stadium for Saturday;’s Indy 11 professional soccer debut.

Music filled the air, and energy radiated from the entire crowd. We were instantly engulfed by the entire atmosphere.

After receiving all-access media passes, we were surprised to learn we had entry to everywhere in the facility. Being on the field and looking up into the bleachers was an incredible sight.

Red, white and blue filled 11,048 seats (a completely sold out game). Directly behind one of the goals, a huge group of fans chanted and sang Indy Eleven cheers for the entire game. It was quite a spectacle to see for it being the first real soccer game in Indianapolis since 2004 when the Indiana Blast played its last game. The Blast, however, played in a lower league and never drew the attention or the fan support that the Eleven have generated.

After the game, we had the opportunity to talk to number 12, Dylan Mare, and number 22, A.J. Corrado about the fan support.

Maren: “Having this many fans for an opener was a remarkable experience. It’s really tough to put into words. Knowing that everyone is here for you is truly something special. I’ll always remember this night.”

Corrado: “The packed house was just phenomenal. The weather couldn’t have been any better for the first game in our franchise history. I would have loved to get the win, but hey, I can’t complain. I don’t think a single fan was rooting for the other team, and that’s a completely indescribable feeling.”

Although the game ended in a 1-1 tie, there was never a moment of disappointment from the fans in the stands; there was never a moment of silence.

The whole experience was nothing short of incredible. Imagine a high school state championship football game’s student section multiplied by 100, add a few beers to the mix, and you may have reached the level of pure happiness everyone in Carroll Stadium shared.

Those in jerseys, scarves, shirts and sweatshirts representing Indy Eleven acted as if we could take on the world. Thanks to the perfect weather and extraordinary team on the field, we were all on cloud nine, together, all night.

Throughout the years Indy has tried and failed at creating a professional soccer team for the community to support in such a way, but Saturday night proves that Indy loves pro soccer and the fans are ready to “follow Indy wherever they go,” as chanted from kickoff to the final whistle.