The high winds downtown Thursday ruined the "Indy Eleven" surprise. The curtains blew off a huge banner on Monument Circle, revealing the name and logo of the new pro soccer team in Indianapolis a few minutes before a news conference began. But the premature unveiling did not damper enthusiasm for the team that begins play in the North American Soccer League in 2014.
Soccer enthusiasts cheered on the steps of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument as team and city officials announced the name choice.
"It makes it real," said Indy Eleven President Peter Wilt. "Now we feel like we're somebody. We're an identity. We're not a generic Indy pro soccer. Now the next steps are to get a coach, players and eventually start winning some games."
Indy Eleven pays homage to Indiana's 11th Regiment in the Civil War, which was founded on this date in 1861. The 11th Indiana Regiment served under the command of Colonel Lew Wallace, who later became the Adjutant General for Indiana and wrote the classic novel "Ben Hur".
The team colors are red, white and navy blue, same as Indianapolis' municipal flag. The team crest features Lady Victory from atop the Soldiers & Sailors Monument, and the star also seen on the city flag. Indianapolis-based graphic designer Patrick Cummings, a soccer supporter, designed the Indy Eleven crest.
Indy Eleven owner Ersal Ozdemir says the team has already sold more than 3,000 season tickets. The team will play at Carroll Stadium on the IUPUI campus.
"There's been a void in the sports marketplace in Indiana," said Wilt. "Having this soccer team fill that void really makes dreams come true for a lot of people in the area. Now they have a team to call their own locally. I think that's what the community really embraces."
Wilt hopes to double the team staff from four to eight in the next few weeks. A coach should be named in June. Players will be signed in the fall.
Indy Eleven has fan forums planned every Wednesday in May:
Fans can reserve season tickets with a deposit of $25 per season ticket. Full season ticket packages will range from $135 to $390 and include tickets to 15 home games.
Team officials announced January 16th that Indianapolis would become the 12th member of the North American Soccer League. The NASL features teams in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico: Atlanta Silverbacks, Carolina RailHawks, FC Edmonton, Fort Lauderdale Strikers, New York Cosmos, Minnesota Stars FC, Puerto Rico Islanders, San Antonio Scorpions FC and the 2012 champion Tampa Bay Rowdies. Indy Eleven, Ottawa Fury and Virginia Cavalry begin play in 2014.