Hankinson brings 36 years of experience as new Indy Eleven head coach

New Indy Eleven coach Tim Hankinson with team owner Ersal Ozdemir.

As snow flurries fell outside on Monument Circle, the Indy Eleven introduced well-traveled soccer coach Tim Hankinson at the club's new head coach. 

"That's soccer weather," said the 60-year-old Hankinson, who once coached in Iceland." This is a great feeling to sense that today."

Indianapolis is the latest stop in Hankinson's 36 year coaching career than has taken him all over the world, including Brazil, Guatemala, India and most recently Jamaica. Hankinson coached Jamaican first division side Montego Bay United to the top of the Red Stripe National Premier League with a 7W-4D-2L record this fall during the first half of the 2015-16 season.

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Hankinson says the fan support for the Indy Eleven made the job here most attractive. The Indy Eleven led the North American Soccer League with an average attendance of 9,809.

"I think it's the fanfare," said Hankinson. "Whether you're the athlete or coach, you want a great game atmosphere. You want to have your players energized with the pride of what the fans bring. This town has come out in full force to support Indy Eleven. Their fan club, the Brickyard Battalion, is the best in the country. I'm excited to be about that."

Hankinson has coached in the NASL previously. He was named the first head coach of the San Antonio Scorpions in 2012 and led the team to the expansion team to the regular season championship.

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Hankinson was a pioneer of Major League Soccer, serving as the league's Director of Player Development for two seasons starting 1996. In 1998, he became head coach of the Tampa Bay Mutiny with playoff appearances in two of his three seasons. In 2001, he took over the Colorado Rapids and took his team to the playoffs in three of his four seasons.

"Experienced candidates were a focal point of our search, and few coaches have the knowledge of American soccer that Tim Hankinson does," said Indy Eleven owner Ersal Ozdemir in a team statement. "On behalf of the Indy Eleven family I want to welcome Tim and his wife, Yvette, to Indianapolis and look forward to them receiving the support of one of the most passionate fan bases in the country."

Tim Regan will return to his assistant coaching job on Hankinson's staff. Regan has served as interim head coach since early June, when the team fired its first coach Juergen Sommer.

"He has a lot of information and know-how of the players we're retaining and also what players we should retain," said Hankinson. "I trust that. I embrace that experience that he can bring back into this upcoming season. He and I will get to know each other well."

"Having known Tim Hankinson for two decades I am well aware of the immense experience and knowledge be brings," said Indy Eleven President/General Manager Peter Wilt in a team statement. "I am excited that Tim Regan has agreed to stay on as part of the technical staff. Between the fresh perspective of Tim Hankinson and the vast knowledge of our squad that Tim Regan possesses, I am confident we will build a championship caliber roster our supporters deserve."

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Hankinson is a native of New York City. His coaching career began in 1979 at age 25 at Oglethorpe University. In 1980, he led Alabama A&M to the NCAA Final Four, where Indiana was in the opposite semifinal.

Hankinson said the hope for a new stadium for the Indy Eleven was also a consideration in taking the job.

"There is always a look at the future," said Hankinson. "Where is the vision of the program? What does the owner dream about creating here? So that is a part of it. Ersal has the vision and dream. Right now I'm just excited to be a part of it. It's about winning this year and not worrying about a stadium. But as we win and as the fans continue to come and support, I think great things will happen with a stadium and the future of the club."

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