1/26/18 US Men tie Bosnia, FA Cup Sat/Sun, EPL games Tues/Wed, Indy 11 Moving to Lucas Oil & Schedule Released, Full TV Schedule

Update on Indy 11 – So its official – the Indy 11 will play at least some home games if not most of them at Lucas Oil Stadium in 2018.   How very exciting!  I for one will look to at least renew my Flex Pack 8 tickets from 2 years ago for the BYB.  The layout looks like they will close off 1 side and use the other side plus both end zones with the BYB in one end zone.  From what I see – the pricing looks similar to before.  VERY EXCITING MOVE FOR OUR INDY 11 !!

Indy 11 announce Lucas Oil as New home stadium for 2018


Indy 11 to call Lucas Oil home – Indy Biz Journal

Indy 11 at the Luke – Nuevo

The US Men – or boys as it would be looked ok on Sun evening vs Bosnia – while everyone else watched the Grammy’s.  Not sure why they didn’t schedule the game for 4 or 5 pm instead of 9:30 pm (good ole US Soccer – CLUELESS!!!)  Anyway – the 50% Bosnian crowd made it loud for the zero to zero tie.  Overall both teams had some decent shots – but overall I thought the US played a little better than Bosnia.  Morris looked good up front – had a chance on 1 and should have had an assist on another.  Same ole US can’t finish issue in front of goal.  US GK faced a PK on a horrible call and it hit post.  Overall not very eventful.  But they held their own.


Woah Sorry got swamped on Friday – no time to write this week. Excited to see the US men – or boys if you will play this Sunday night vs Bosnia on Fox Sports 1 at 9:30 pm – the US team will have a bunch of youngsters out there – excited to see who gets some game time and if anyone shines?

FA Cup action this weekend in England and while its romantic and all – seriously its usually a blow-out.  I will tune in some – see schedules below – but its not EPL.  The EPL does have games on Tues 3 pm on NBCSN as Liverpool tries to recover from the tie to Swansea on Monday at Huddersfield.  And Wed we get Tottenham vs Man United in a HUGE game for top 4 at 3 pm on NBCSN.   The weekend slate does have Dortmund and US star Pulisic hosting Frieburg at 9:30 am on FS2, while beIn Sport brings us surging Valencia hosting a struggling Real Madrid at 10 am and Juventus traveling to Chievo at 2:45 pm.   Sunday gives us a decent FA Cup game with Chelsea hosting Yedlin and Newcastle United.

The Indy 11 have signed some players and are beginning to assemble a roster.  The full season schedule has been released with some fun games on the docket including of course the home opener vs Louisville FC on March 31st.

Check out The Ole Ballcoach online www.theoleballcoach.com


Sat, Jan 27 

7:30 am FS 1                  Petersborough United vs Leicester City FA Cup

9:30 am FS 1                  Hoffenhiem vs Bayer Munich

9:30 am FS2>                Borussia Dortmund (Pulisic) vs Freiburg

10 am beIN Sport       Valencia cs Real Madrid

12:30 FS2                     Werder Bremen vs Schalke

12:30 FS 1                    Newport County vs Tottenham FA Cup

2:45 bein Sport           Juve vs Chievo

2:45 pm FS2                   Liverpool vs West Brom FA Cup

Sun, Jan 28 

8:30 am FS1                   Chelsea vs Newcastle United (yedlin)  FA Cup

9:30 am FS plus           Bayern Leverkusen vs Mainz

10:45 am FS2                 Cardiff vs Man City  FA Cup

2:45 pm beIN Sport     Barcelona vs Deportivo Alaves

9:30 pm FS1         USA Men vs Bosnia & Herzegovina

Tues, Jan 30

2:45 pm ??                     Swansea vs Arsenal

2:45 pm Gol TV            Atalanta vs Juve     Coppa Italia

3 pm NBCSN                   Huddersfield Town vs Liverpool

Weds, Jan 31

2:45 pm NBCSN   Tottenham vs Manchester United 

2:45 pm Gol TV            Milan vs Lazio

Fri, Feb 2

2:30 pm FS1                   Kiohl vs Dortmund (Pulisic)

Sat, Feb 3 

7:30 am NBCSN            Burnley vs Man City

9:30 am FS 1                  Mainz vs Bayer Munich

10 am NBCSN                 Man United vs Huddersfield (Williams)

12:30 pm NBCSN        Aresnal vs Everton

12:30 FS2                       RB Leipzig vs Borussia Mgladbach (Johnson)

2:45 pm beIN Sport  Real Madrid vs Lavente

Sun, Feb 4  

9:15 am NBcSN            Crystal Palace vs New Castle (Yedlin)

9:30 am FS1                   Franfurt vs Augsburg

11 am NBCSN       Liverpool vs Tottenham 

2:45 pm beIN Sport      Atletico Madrid vs Valencia

Tues, Feb 13 – Champions League

2:45 pm FS2                  Basel vs Man City

2:45 pm Fox Sport1  Juventus vs Tottenham  

Weds, Feb 14 – Champions League

2:45 pm FS1                  Real Madrid vs PSG   

2:45 pm Fox Sport2  Porto vs Liverpool  

Tues, Feb 20 – Champions League

2:45 pm FS1                  Bayern Munich vs Besiktas

2:45 pm FS 2                  Chelsea vs Barcelona  

Weds, Feb 21 – Champions League

2:45 pm FS1                   Sevilla vs Man United                   

2:45 pm Fox Sport2  Roma vs Shakhtar

Thurs, Mar 1

7 pm  ESPN2         US Ladies vs Germany (She Believes Cup @ MAPFREE Stadium Columbus, OH)

Tues, Mar 6 – Champions League

2:45 pm FS1                  PSG vs Real Madrid

2:45 pm Fox Sport2  Liverpool vs Porto

Weds, Mar 7  – Champions League

2:45 pm FS2                  Man City vs Basel

2:45 pm Fox Sport1  Tottenham  vs Juventus

Tues, Mar 13 – Champions League

2:45 pm FS1                   Man United vs Sevilla

2:45 pm Fox Sport2  Shakhtar  vs Roma

Weds, Mar 14 – Champions League

2:45 pm FS1                  Besiktas  vs  Bayern Munich

2:45 pm FS 2                  Barcelona  vs Chelsea

Thurs, Mar 1

7 pm  ESPN2         US Ladies vs Germany (She Believes Cup @ MAPFREE Stadium Columbus, OH)

EPL 2018 Schedule  

Read All the stories online – at www.theoleballcoach.com


Indy 11 Regular Season Schedule is Released

Indy 11 Coach has A lot to do in a Hurry – Indy Star – Kevin Johnston

Forward Justin Braun is Back

Indy 11 Sign Defenders

Around the USL


US Squads New Guys – What you need to know about Ramirez, Glad and Canouse – ESPNFC Noah Davis

US youngster Weston McKinnie of Schalke out 6 weeks with knee injury – ESPNFC

http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/soccer/ct-bruce-arena-us-world-cup-20180120-story.html  US laid an Egeg

Howard – No Systemic Issues with US Soccer  ESPN

Who should be on US Roster in 2022- MLS.com

US Led Bid – Pitches Risk Averse World Cup

Bradley predicts slow year for US National Team

US Ladies Star Julie Johnson Ertz – elated to hear her husband going to superbowl at end of US win

NFL Draft Helped Julie Ertz to starring role for US Ladies

The Voters and Issues that will Decide the Next US Soccer President – Jeff Carlisle ESPNFC

Has Any Candidate Separated From the Field?  Grant Wahl SI

American Outlaws Interviews with the US Soccer Candidates

Feb 10 is when the Voting for a NEW US Soccer Prez takes place


Indy 11 Regular Season Schedule is Released

Indy 11 Coach has A lot to do in a Hurry – Indy Star – Kevin Johnston

Forward Justin Braun is Back

Indy 11 Sign Defenders

Around the USL


Power Rankings Man City Climb Barca Still on Top – eSPNFC

US Christian Pulisic and Dortmund to Tour US this Summer

Could Zidane Be in Trouble at Real Madrid after losing out of the Copa Del Rey and out of the top 6 in La Liga? 

FA Cup 4th Round Predictions

Why the FA Cup will Always be Important in England

Mexico Power Rankings

World Cup Bid for 2026 by US/Canada/Mexico – Interview with Gulati -SI – Grant Wahl


Montreal Transfer Academy standout Ballou Trabla to Barcelona


U.S. squad’s new guys: What you need to know about Ramirez, Glad, Canouse

10:17 AM ETNoah Davis

The United States men’s national team kicks off its 2018 campaign with a match against Bosnia and Herzegovina on Sunday (9:30 p.m. ET). Interim head coach Dave Sarachan brought a young, inexperienced group into January camp, including 10 players who are getting their first senior team call.To help you get to know this new crew, we gathered notes about who they are and talked to a few experts about where they might fit into the American player pool.

Danny Acosta, DF, Real Salt Lake

Age: 20

Who he is: The Real Salt Lake homegrown player moved to the U.S. from his native Honduras when he was 12, eventually joining Justen Glad, Sebastian Saucedo and Brooks Lennon in the club’s academy. He made 17 appearances for RSL in 2017, locking down the left-back role and standing up to Clint Dempsey in the process.

An expert’s take: “The thing that has everyone talking about Danny right now is his moment talking trash to Dempsey. It always feels like in big games, the U.S. team clams up a bit, so it’s nice to see a kid with some swag who clearly isn’t scared of anyone. His soccer ability? Who knows at this point? But left-back is still a weakness in the player pool, and Acosta will get a chance to play 30 games this year, which puts anyone in contention.”

Russell Canouse, MF, D.C. United

Age: 22

Who he is: The holding midfielder left the U.S. for Germany in 2011, joining Hoffenheim’s youth program. He made a single appearance in the Bundesliga before returning to the States in August and joining D.C. United, with which he was an immediate and effective starter. Canouse has leadership ability, captaining the American team at the 2015 CONCACAF Championship in Jamaica before missing the age-group World Cup due to injury.

An expert’s take: “The U.S. player pool has few really good, dedicated No. 6 defensive midfielders, especially with the defection of Jonathan Gonzalez. Canouse had some strong games in 2017 and also some weak games. He needs a good 2018.”

Marky Delgado, MF, Toronto FC

Age: 22

Who he is: Jozy Altidore, Michael Bradley, Sebastian Giovinco and Victor Vazquez are bigger names, but Delgado — a former Chivas USA Youth Academy product who was taken with the 14th pick in the 2014 MLS Dispersal Draft — makes Toronto FC tick in the midfield. He’s a tenacious tackler and an intuitive passer who has made 48 starts the past two seasons. He started all five matches when the U.S. U-20s reached the quarterfinals at the 2015 World Cup.

An expert’s take: “Delgado is a player who makes the plays you need to win games. He’s been surrounded by special talent at Toronto, which has helped him thrive, and will need to show that he’s exceptional in a few areas to climb up the box-to-box midfielder rankings.”

Justen Glad, DF, Real Salt Lake

Age: 20

Who he is: RSL’s solid center-back made 27 starts in 2016, earning the team’s Defensive Player of the Year honors, and 18 last season after an early season knee injury robbed him of three months. He’s mature beyond his years, though he needs to continue improving if he is to capitalize on his immense promise.

An expert’s take: “One of the most promising newcomers, if not the most promising, on the January roster. He is a mature player for his age and has a very nice upside as a central defender. If Glad plays well and outshines others in this camp like [Walker] Zimmerman and [Tim] Parker, he could see himself high up the depth chart.”

Marlon Hairston, DF/MF, Colorado Rapids

Age: 23

Who he is: The lightning-quick man from Mississippi finally found a home at right-back, playing more than 2,600 minutes for the Colorado Rapids in 2017 as a wing-back and wide midfielder. He has been on the fringes of the U.S. system, making a single appearance for the U-23 squad in 2014.

An expert’s take: “An athletic, energetic attacker who never looked good enough on the ball to make an impact as a forward or winger, it looks like he will get his chance to play wing-back this year in Colorado. With the exception of DeAndre Yedlin, both outside-back spots look up for grabs, so while Hairston has a ton of ground to make up, it’s not impossible.”

Ian Harkes, MF, D.C. United

Age: 22

Who he is: The son of U.S. legend John Harkes, the No. 8 went from winning the Hermann Trophy with Wake Forest to starting in D.C. United’s midfield in a single year. He was the team’s most accurate passer and completed nearly one key pass per game, both indications that he has the vision and ability to succeed in international competition.

An expert’s take: “Had an up-and-down rookie year with D.C. Along with Canouse, Harkes will have to show his worth at the club level before we really know what he is at the international level.”

Brooks Lennon, FW, Real Salt Lake

Age: 20

Who he is: Lennon left RSL’s academy in 2015 to join Liverpool but didn’t make any appearances for the English club before returning Stateside, first on loan and then permanently in December. The pacey attacker scored three goals and posted four assists in 1,525 MLS minutes in 2017, looking lively and nearly leading the Claret and Cobalt to an unlikely postseason trip.

An expert’s take: “He’s a one-on-one guy, which we don’t have many of in the player pool right now. He’s happy to get the ball wide and run at the outside-back. He also has the acceleration to beat most defenders. He doesn’t have the games to say whether he’s fully good enough yet, but anyone with his kind of acceleration has a chance.”

Nick Lima, DF, San Jose Earthquakes

Age: 23

Who he is: The Homegrown San Jose Earthquake started at right-back for an injured Marvell Wynne in Week One, earning MLS Team of the Week honors, and he didn’t look out of place in his rookie year. An injury derailed his campaign, as he started a single match after Aug. 12, but Lima showed more than enough to prove that he belongs.

An expert’s take: “Looked solid in limited minutes with San Jose. He has the athleticism and technical ability you want, but his defensive instincts leave a lot to be desired.”

Ike Opara, DF, Sporting Kansas City

Age: 28

Who he is: Were it not for a series of unfortunate injuries, the 2017 MLS Defender of the Year would have been called into a camp well before his 29th year. The No. 3 overall selection in the 2010 MLS SuperDraft finally stayed healthy, starting 30 games at center-back for Sporting Kansas City and playing 90 minutes in every one.

An expert’s take: “Ike’s a somewhat dying breed of a pure defender. He’s an incredible athlete, able to run and jump with anyone, but he also thinks of the game in a defend-first manner, which in itself is a differentiating factor for defenders these days. He might not have the passing ability or comfort on the ball for the international stage, but that depends on the coach’s preferences.”

Christian Ramirez, FW, Minnesota United

Age: 26

Who he is: The former NASL star stayed with Minnesota United when the team joined MLS, tallying 14 goals in 30 games. He’s an elegant finisher who has found the net at a clip well above a goal every two games during his professional career.

An expert’s take: “Most of his game is based on poaching in the box, and there’s always a place on a roster for a guy who can finish chances. Goal scoring is generally form-based, so it’s tough to say what the future holds, but he has the ability to score goals, which means he can always be in the conversation.”

Christian Pulisic’s Borussia Dortmund to tour U.S. in summer

Borussia Dortmund have announced plans for a summer tour of the United States.  The Bundesliga club will play expansion club Los Angeles FC and will “most probably play two matches” in the International Champions Cup.Sources at the Borussia Dortmund side on Wednesday confirmed to ESPN FCthat the Bundesliga will play a match against Los Angeles FC at the Banc of California Stadium, which with it’s steep standing terraces has partially been inspired by Dortmund’s Westfalenstadion.While that match could already take place as an epilogue to the 2017-2018 season in May — depending on Borussia’s success in Europa League, with the final being played on May 16 — Dortmund will also participate in the International Champions Cup for a third consecutive year, BVB announced.The ICC will be held in July. And Dortmund “will most probably play two matches” in the series, Borussia Dortmund said on their website.The games could be an opportunity for fans to watch United States star Christian Pulisic, who came through the ranks of BVB’s youth academy, having previously joined the club as a 16-year-old in early 2015. A year later, he was promoted to the senior team for whom he hassince played in 79 competitive matches, scoring 11 goals and setting up a further 14.”We hope, and also believe there are positive indications, that the people in the USA are also excited at the prospect of receiving their first visit from BVB, including the entire first team and Christian Pulisic, the U.S. Footballer of the Year,” Borussia director for sales & marketing Carsten Cramer said in quotes on the club’s official website.Cramer added Dortmund were “extremely delighted” to receive a third consecutive invitation to the ICC, saying that the “increasing presence” in it “underlines how importantBorussia Dortmund has become on a sporting level.”

Michael Bradley predicts ‘slow year’ for U.S. national team ahead

nited States captain Michael Bradley has predicted a “slow year” for the national team, telling the Toronto Sun he does not expect a new coach to be hired until the summer.

After failing to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, the U.S. will not play a competitive game in this calendar year. Interim coach Dave Sarachan will lead the team in a friendly on Sunday, but a permanent successor to Bruce Arena will wait until after the U.S. Soccer Federation presidential election on Feb. 10.But Bradley said he did not believe a new appointment would be made quickly, with potential candidates currently in charge of World Cup teams are clubs in Europe likely to be come available in the coming months..”Right now there’s a presidential election. We’ll have to see how that unfolds. Once there’s a president, that president will have to decide who the next coach is going to be,” Bradley told the Sun.”My guess is that’s going to take time. Anything is possible, but I’m not sure I expect there to be a full-time coach in until the latter part of the year.”When I think about it, a new coach is likely coming from MLS or coaching a team in the World Cup. Both of those things would require you [to] wait.”If someone is coaching in Europe, you have to at least get to the summer. I think it’s going to be a slow year with the national team.”Bradley, 30, said “we’ll see, we’ll see” when asked if he would play for the U.S. this year, but added that he’s not yet done with international duty.”I’ll always be ready if and when they call to go and do everything I can to help the team,” he said.

U.S.-led bid touts ‘risk-averse’ World Cup amid political backlash

Jan 23, 2018ESPN staff

The United States-led bid for the 2026 World Cup is hoping the “economic certainty” it offers global football will outweigh any concerns about negative perceptions of America’s foreign policies.The United Bid Committee is trying to bring the World Cup to the U.S., Mexico and Canada in 2026, but its leadership was pressed in London on Tuesday about the effect recent inflammatory remarks by U.S. President Donald Trump will have on FIFA voters when they select the hosts in June.Trump reportedly used a vulgar term to describe African and Latin American countries during a White House meeting on immigration this month, leading to concerns about an international backlash that could push voters to favor a rival bid from Morocco, which only formally launched its bid on Tuesday.CONCACAF president Victor Montagliani, Canada’s representative in the bid committee, tweeted his support to El Salvador and Haiti on Jan. 12, but when asked by reporters on Tuesday if he also “condemned” Trump’s remarks, he simply restated his support.On whether an anti-Trump effect could see the bid defeated, Montagliani said: “When we started thinking about bidding, years ago, there was certain political environment, there is one right now and there’ll be one in 2026. From a bid point of view, it’s been about football and it will always be about football.”Sitting alongside, U.S. Soccer Federation president Sunil Gulati, who last week admitted political forces could adversely affect the bid, said: “We can’t control the politics. It will change over time. And we have got all the assurances we need from all three governments to support the bid in all areas that are important to FIFA.”

Gulati said 70,000 pages of contracts are currently being signed. As well as requiring tax exemptions on FIFA activities in the host nations, the governing body will also demand by March assurances of visa-free access to the tournament. That could run into conflict with Trump’s hard-line immigration stance, including a ban on travel to the U.S. by residents of six majority-Muslim countries, which is being challenged in the courts.”We have had complete support from the White House on our bid and the government guarantees we need,” Gulati said. “Any participants in the World Cup will have access to the country.”As for visiting fans, Gulati stressed that “subject to security checks they will be allowed to participate.”Gulati said it had not yet been decided whether to use Trump in its final pitch, after former presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama featured in previous American bids.he U.S. is partnering with Mexico on the World Cup just as Trump also presses ahead with construction of a border wall between the neighbors.”In terms of the famous wall, I think football is stronger than that,” Mexican federation president Decio De Maria said. “We are working together to have this event. It’s not the wall that’s going to be part of this bid. It’s football.”The United States is the majority partner in the 2026 bid, with 60 games including everything from the quarterfinals onward, while Canada and Mexico have 10 fixtures each. But Gulati said those numbers were not set in stone.”Might it change? Sure, it is possible,” Gulati said when asked if the junior partners might gain more matches.FIFA has scrapped the tainted system where a small group of officials decided the host and expanded the vote to the entire membership of 211 nations. While many countries have little chance of qualifying, they still have a stake in ensuring the World Cup is profitable, Gulati pointed out.”FIFA’s finances are heavily dependent on one event — the men’s World Cup,” said Gulati, who is also a member of the FIFA Council. “So there is a direct line between funding for programs around the world and what happens at the World Cup and the revenue generated.”With 48 finalists to accommodate, the 2026 World Cup is loaded with unprecedented risks for FIFA, just when it needs to be certain of turning a big profit after losing sponsors over corruption scandals.”We think part of our case is the certainty we can provide for a first-ever expanded World Cup,” Gulati said. “Being risk averse both to members and to FIFA is part of our story.”But it’s also one of unity and keeping these three countries in the international community, in a way that is tied together. We think between that and the certainty we can provide to FIFA’s central piece of revenue, it is a compelling case.”With barely four months until FIFA votes, Morocco finally got around to launching its bid on Tuesday. There’s now a campaign logo and social presence but still few details of how the North African nation will stage the first World Cup after the leap from 32 to 48 teams.Morocco, whose previous failed World Cup campaigns have been implicated in bribery investigations, is touting the upside of the ambiguity surrounding its latest bid.”We may surprise many people with our strong infrastructure and commercial offering,” Moroccan federation president Fouzi Lekjaa said in a statement, “and we will highlight our wonderful welcome, host cities and stunning locations. It promises to be a truly special bid.”Information from The Associated Press and Press Association was used in this report.


The voters and issues that will decide the next U.S. Soccer president

Jan 24, 2018Jeff CarlisleSoccer

On Feb. 10, at the U.S. Soccer Federation’s annual general meeting, an era will come to an end. The 12-year reign of president Sunil Gulati will conclude, and the organization will elect a new leader.The race features eight candidates, a list that includes former U.S. men’s international and collegiate head coach Paul Caligiuri, current Soccer United Marketing president Kathy Carter, current USSF vice president Carlos Cordeiro, attorney Steven Gans, former professional and current NBC broadcaster Kyle Martino, U.S. women’s international goalkeeper Hope Solo, attorney Mike Winograd and former U.S. men’s international and current Fox Soccer broadcaster Eric Wynalda.The race to succeed Gulati has captivated the broader U.S. soccer community, sparking endless debates on social media and elsewhere, especially in the wake of the failure by the U.S. men’s national team to qualify for the 2018 World Cup. Yet unlike last year’s election for U.S. president, the opinions of rank-and-file fans matter only to a point. What’s more important are the members of the USSF’s National Council who will cast their votes, and even more critically, what issues will drive their vote.

So, who votes?

It’s expected that more than 500 members of the National Council who will cast ballots on Feb. 10, and nearly every delegate will fall into one of four primary constituencies. There is the Youth Council, which comprises representatives from the various state youth soccer associations, as well as national organizations like U.S. Club Soccer and American Youth Soccer Organization. Then there is the Adult Council, which overseas the amateur game, and like its youth counterpart, its representatives hail mostly from the adult state associations. There is the Professional Council, representing the professional leagues for both men’s and women’s soccer, and then there is the Athletes Council, representing the interests of the athletes on various national teams including men, women, beach soccer, futsal and Paralympians.The Youth, Adult and Professional Councils will have their votes weighted to account for approximately 25.8 percent of the vote. As mandated by the Ted Stevens Amateur Sports Act, the Athletes Council takes up 20 percent. The remaining votes — approximately 2.6 percent of the entire vote — will be taken up by national associations and affiliates, board members, life members (up to 12 votes) and two fan representatives.But to paraphrase George Orwell, the weighted nature of the voting means that some votes are more equal than others.The Pro Council has 16 votes, with nine controlled by Major League Soccer, three for second-division United Soccer League, three for the National Women’s Soccer League, and one for the North American Soccer league, which is currently suing the federation on antitrust grounds. That means MLS — which has publicly thrown its support to Carter — will control 14.5 percent of the entire vote.



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Meanwhile the total number of voters in the Youth and Adult Councils will reach into the hundreds, yet still account for a quarter of the overall vote. For those two councils, size matters, with the states having more registered players getting more votes.

As for the Athletes Council, comprises 20 members. But even if less than 20 members show up in Orlando, the Athletes Council still gets 20 percent of the overall vote, so its votes will weigh heavy on the outcome. Historically this constituency has voted as a bloc in a bid to maximize its influence. So the conventional wisdom is that all roads to the USSF presidency lead through the Athletes Council, though it’s probably fairer to say winning this constituency requires less groundwork. It’s easier to convince 20 athletes to vote for you than it is 110 state associations.(Anyone wanting a more detailed breakdown can read Anthony DiCicco’s excellent write-up here.)

What are the issues for voters?

As much traction as issues like promotion/relegation and the fate of the national teams get on social media and elsewhere, they are not the first items listed as important by actual delegates. Every council has its pet issues, which explains in part why the support for individual candidates appears to be so fragmented at this stage.

Adult Council

The complaint heard over and over again from Adult Council voters is that this constituency feels forgotten by the USSF. This has led to the broader question of what exactly the USSF does for this organization and its members, especially with two dollars of each player registration going to the USSF.”All of my members feel that we’re not part of the federation anymore,” said U.S. Adult Soccer Association president John Motta. “We’re not inclusive, it’s like we’re outcasts, they do nothing for us. I hear that a lot from my membership. Years ago we felt like we were part of the family, part of the organization. Today we just don’t feel that anymore.”Several Adult Council members said they’d like to see the fee reduced to one dollar per player, same as the youth. This is even more of a pain point given that according to Motta, the USASA was hit with two lawsuits regarding player injuries, resulting in a sharp increase in insurance costs.”It’s a $6 million tax,” said former USSF treasurer Richard Groff, who will serve as an adult commissioner at the election for the Adult Council.



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Scott Eisenbraun, the president of the North Carolina Adult Soccer Association added, “For our smaller state associations, a few thousand dollars doesn’t sound like a lot, but it would be a big help.”With more money and attention, the hope is that more leagues and players currently operating outside the purview of the USSF can be brought into the fold.Transparency is also an issue within some segments of the Adult Council. According to California Soccer Association North president Ric Olivas, too often policy changes were dictated from on high with little to no debate. These included policies related to the election. He spoke of how when Gulati dropped out of the race, his letters of nomination were released just days before the filing deadline.”We’re the members, and we should be given the information honestly and above board,” said Olivas.And yes, promotion/relegation did come up, with Eisenbraun a big supporter. “I think [promotion/relegation] and giving clubs a chance to grow is a big, big piece of the popularity of the sport in this country,” he said.

Youth Council

If the Adult Council feels forgotten, portions of the Youth Council feel overburdened by mandates imposed from above, from the change to birth year registration to field sizes to the much ballyhooed Development Academy, and its insistence on not letting kids play high school soccer. Then there is the way the youth game is structured, with U.S. Club Soccer, U.S. Youth Soccer and the USSF Development Academy at times competing with one another. The costs of course are an issue as well, though there is skepticism as to how much can be done.”People are looking for the silver bullet, talking about things like pay-to-play, things that are just too big to tackle in the election of a president,” said Brian Smith, president of the Utah Youth Soccer Association. “The structure is so horizontal, so spread out. How is the USSF supposed to go out and see the best kids when they’re all over the place? It needs to be more of a vertical structure and let the state associations be what they are and then let everyone report into one unit that is the USSF. It’s a bit of a mess right now, an octopus fight.”



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Kevin Payne, the CEO of U.S. Club Soccer added, “We would love to see the federation develop a broad strategy that includes all of its members, in an undertaking to improve the quality of experience for players and parents and clubs at every level.”There is also a strong push to make the coaching courses put on by the federation more affordable and accessible.”It’s almost a national emergency,” said Payne about improving the ranks of coaches. “This is one of the few areas where I actually think we can achieve results relatively quickly by throwing money at it. The problem now is the federation has properly made their licensing more specific and more rigorous. But in doing that it’s actually narrowed the pipeline for new coaches. It’s made it more meaningful to get different levels of licenses, but it’s really constricted the pipeline.”

Athletes Council

As its name suggests, the focus of the Athletes Council is on the players representing the U.S. at various levels. That means concerning itself with the collective bargaining process for the men’s and women’s national teams (the men’s deal is up in 2018) as well as doing more for other, less-heralded national squads.”We want the programs, from the women on down to beach soccer, to have more resources and be more respected,” said Athletes Council chair Chris Ahrens, himself a Paralympian. “I’m not saying the beach and Paralympians should be given the same as the women, but if you wear the crest, you should be given every opportunity to succeed.”Ahrens said the Athletes Council is also looking for the next president to make sure the NWSL “continues to work and grow and thrive so our women for years to come have a league to play in.”The question does remain as to whether the bloc voting that has characterized previous elections will still be in effect in Orlando. Half of the Athletes Council is comprised of women, who may be inclined to throw their support behind one of the two female candidates, Carter and Solo, though to be clear those two candidates represent opposite ends of the ideological spectrum. At minimum, creating more gender diversity within the ranks of the USSF is a core issue for the Athletes Council.”We want a president who is going to engage the athletes and have them be a part of the process going forward,” said Ahrens.

WATCH: Winograd talks U.S. Soccer presidential bid

ESPN FC’s Adrian Healey sits down with Michael Winograd to discuss his U.S. Soccer presidential candidacy.

Professional Council

The hot-button issues figure to have more resonance inside the Pro Council, though its votes are mostly spoken for. MLS controls nine of the Pro Council’s 16 votes — 56.25 percent — and its support of Carter hints at a strong push to largely maintain the status quo as far as the pro game and its ancillary businesses are concerned, which includes maintaining a closed system.The NASL has already thrown its support behind Wynalda given their shared desire for a more open system.But the remaining votes from the USL and NWSL are still valuable. As for the NWSL, given its dependence on the USSF for its survival, their affinity for a candidate depends on the level of continued support for the league.”Everybody wants sustainability; they don’t want a league to fail, which has happened previously,” said North Carolina Courage owner Steve Malik, who also sits on the USSF board of directors. “At the same time, we all want to raise the standards for every aspect of it, from fan experience to technical ability to support, doing everything we can for these women to fulfill their talent.”

Picking a candidate

Listen to the candidates’ presentations long enough, and you begin to notice some considerable overlap on issues like making the youth game cheaper for everyone, to equality for the women’s game to making governance more transparent and less dependent on one person to make decisions. Some delegates will have very specific goals that only one candidate can satisfy. But what if multiple candidates meet a given constituent’s policy goals? What then?  “We’ve seen in politics of all sorts that words are one thing,” said Malik. “You evaluate them on their experiences, their networks, people that they know and can help bring them into the equation. Just because the president has agenda items, there’s many things that need board approval. So you need someone that can bring everyone along with them.”And what if the preferred candidate drops out? In that case, being a delegate’s second or even third choice has more value than at first glance. But like any political race, the personal touch, regardless of how that is conveyed, matters, and that may ultimately be what nudges a delegate to vote in a certain direction.”For me it will likely come down to personality and how they treated me during this process,” said Eisenbraun. “Not that anyone has treated me badly, but some have been more forthcoming than others in terms of reaching out. That says a lot about them.”

With Weeks Until U.S Soccer Election, Has Any Candidate Separated From the Field?

Every candidate in the U.S. Soccer election was present in Philadelphia last Thursday through the weekend as part of the annual national coaches convention, and with the Feb. 10 decision day approaching, it provided a chance for all of the eight to make a statement. But instead of having the opportunity to debate against one another, the candidates participated in individual panels and a group forum, where they answered direct questions, touting the familiar campaign slogans we’ve been hearing for weeks.With the outgoing president, Sunil Gulati, also in the building at the Pennsylvania Convention Center and thousands of coaches across the USA’s soccer landscape in attendance, the same talking points continued to be batted around–some of the same ones that Gulati called “nonsensical”

as he discussed the vibes emanating from the campaign trail. And while the general public doesn’t vote on the election, and private conversations not privy to the public could go a long way in determining the outcome, the appearances in front of some of the voting constituents left a feeling of wanting more. We discussed the field of eight candidates and the impressions they left on the most recent episode of the Planet Fútbol Podcast. You can listen to the whole conversation in the podcast below (beginning at the 18:00 mark) and subscribe to the podcast on iTunes here (the conversation has been edited only for length and clarity).

GW: Bruce Arena and Sunil Gulati both spoke at this convention. They both had sessions in which they were interviewed by people, and I almost felt like they were on something of a “defiance tour” as I called it in trying to respond to what happened with the U.S. failing to qualify for the World Cup—especially in Arena’s case but also in Gulati’s case, and Gulati talking about how he felt about this U.S. Soccer presidential election that will replace him with one of eight different candidates. Was that the sense that you got? Was this a defiance tour?

BS: I have called them both defiant in the past and they have been defiant. I think, maybe Sunil was a little more defiant. Bruce was, it was certainly the most enlightening and candid that Bruce has been since the Trinidad game. … Then there was Sunil talking about wanting to debate all eight [candidates]. He has so little respect for the eight candidates in the race that he said he asked the convention organizers if he could debate all eight simultaneously, which would’ve been the greatest thing of all time. Whether or not you like Sunil or whether or not you think he made mistakes—I obviously think his control of the technical side of U.S. Soccer was poorly done and is the reason he shouldn’t run again—but he would’ve won that debate pretty easily. The eight candidates … there’s not a ton of inspiring substance coming from that side of the room.

GW: That kind of reminds me, the idea of Sunil Gulati debating all eight candidates, of like when the world chess champion plays 50 10-year-old kids at the same time.

BS: Right! Now they do these videos of where they have three pro soccer players against 100 kids. He’s sharp. Whether or not you think he’s good at hiring coaches, he’s a sharp dude.

GW: I really wish there had been a debate, in real debate form, with the eight candidates in Philadelphia as was previously planned until about a week before the convention, [when] we learned that no, it was just going to be a candidate forum where the candidates would come out one-by-one and answer questions from the legend, J.P. Dellacamera. And that’s what they ended up doing on Saturday.

BS: There were a lot of slogans and weirdness and awkwardness from the candidates. There was some sweating because of these lights … There were a couple things that jumped out: obviously Wynalda claiming that the 2026 bid was jeopardy because of our noncompliance (with FIFA statutes). He made a good point though, too, which was talking about—and I agree with him—that our lack of participation in an open player market is a hindrance. And Wynalda’s point about opening up the league would be that our focus on development would include more markets than just the 18 or whatever U.S. markets that are in MLS. And that’s worth considering, and that could be solved [partially] with things like solidarity payments and an open transfer market and things of that nature.A lot of the other stuff about trying to mend the fractured youth landscape. There are so many youth soccer organizations. It’s so hard to keep track of. If I was a parent or a player I would be so bewildered. We had USYS travel leagues and ODP when we were kids, and that was it. And that system produced the 2002 World Cup team—the quarterfinalists—and that system produce two Women’s World Cup champions. It wasn’t great, but it wasn’t entirely a hindrance. A lot of the candidates had ideas. Paul Caligiuri, for example, suggested that all high school coaches should be ODP scouts because obviously high school soccer gives you access to players you wouldn’t otherwise have in the academy system.Steve Gans also talked about the idea that the prohibition on playing high school soccer robs players of certain benefits, certain pressures, certain scrutiny, certain on-field responsibilities you might have as an elite player, that kids aren’t getting in what he called the sterile development academy environment.There were definitely some points that were interesting in addition to all the nonsense. Carlos Cordeiro wants to start a fund. There’s all this talk about the $150 million surplus. About $60 million of that came from the Copa América Centenario, kind of a one-time thing, and Cordeiro said operating the programs as they exist now would take $100 million off that surplus. So he was talking about starting a fund that would generate the revenue needed and how England and Germany—we have $150 million and England and Germany are spending $500 million—and the differences in financial wherewithal and heft.Each of these people has an area where they know something and where they might be able to help, but certainly none of them jumped out as the person who has enough experience and enough good ideas to kind of run everything. And I think that’s been Sunil’s point—and Sunil obviously failed on the technical side—so maybe the perfect candidate doesn’t exist.

GW: They obviously have their strengths. They have their weaknesses. I find it interesting that you have a pairing almost of candidates. Carter and Cordeiro are two of the business candidates. You’ve got the two lawyers, Winograd and Gans. You’ve got the two former players who I think have a shot of winning, Martino and Wynalda. And then I think you have the two former players who don’t have a shot at winning in Solo and Caligiuri. I find that part interesting. I think it’s crazy that we actually are up with eight candidates in the end, because I don’t know if that’ll ever happen again…

It didn’t surprise me that the two TV folks, Wynalda and Martino, probably came off as the most polished. I do think Winograd—and I interviewed him last week on this podcast—who maybe of all the candidates has gotten notice and maybe increased the interest in himself during this campaign based on how he’s presented himself during the different candidate forums … Do I think that’ll be enough for Winograd to make himself a contender? Not totally sure about that.

BS: He proposed something that I think is along the lines of the German model with the state technical centers, which I thought was interesting. Start to accept that player development isn’t something that can be sort of legislated from the top down—a lot of them were making that point—but Winograd was talking about investing in these state centers. It’s an office, it’s a field complex, it’s a well-paid state technical director who sort of connects the state apparatus…to the federation. That was interesting.

I forgot to mention the most interesting thing about the election stuff at the convention which was a brief moment during both Hope Solo’s and Eric Wynalda’s individual forums, which I was able to attend … Hope blamed the media, which was awesome. A lot of the problems in American soccer are our fault. So that was cool. But the same thing happened in both sessions … they both at one point during conversations about Soccer United Marketing turned to the audience and asked people to raise their hand if they knew what Soccer United Marketing was. Not an opinion—but like, do you even know what this is. There were maybe 300-400 people in Hope Solo’s session and 500-600 in Wynalda’s. Let’s say we’re close to 1,000 people combined in these two sessions. Think about all the time we spend talking about SUM, interacting or looking at the Twitter bubble about SUM. All of the consternation. Obviously it’s a big part of the lawsuit between the NASL and USSF. And I would say of the 1,000 people—and maybe people knew about SUM didn’t raise their hand—but combined, about maybe 10-12 people raised their hand. Out of 1,000! At the grassroots—these are coaches and administrators and people involved in youth and college and high school and club soccer around the country. Most people have no idea what this stuff is. It’s just not part of their daily experience and interaction with the game … It just kind of blew me away.



Top 10 in the World


Barcelona (no change)


After a goalless hour at Betis, Barca scored four in 10 minutes to seal victory. Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez set up that win and were also superb on Wednesday as Barca reached the Copa del Rey semis.


Click to Flip

  • Last week: 5-0 vs. Real Betis (A; La Liga), 2-0 vs. Espanyol (H; Copa del Rey)


Manchester City (+1)


City got back to winning ways, thanks largely to Sergio Aguero. The club’s record scorer got a hat trick vs. Newcastle and added another in midweek as Pep Guardiola’s side made the Carabao Cup final.


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  • Last week: 3-1 vs. Newcastle (H; Premier League), 3-2 vs. Bristol City (A; Carabao Cup)


Bayern Munich (+1)


With an attacking line-up, Bayern almost paid for defensive lapses as relegation-threatened Werder Bremen took the lead. The champions, however, hit back to win 4-2, with Thomas Muller scoring twice.


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  • Last week: 4-2 vs. Werder Bremen (H; Bundesliga)


Paris Saint-Germain (-2)


Trouble in PSG’s paradise? Without Neymar, Unai Emery’s side fell to defeat at Lyon — thanks to Memphis Depay’s superb winner — and a midweek cup win will do little to ease Parisian disquiet.


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  • Last week: 1-2 vs. Lyon (A; Ligue 1), 4-2 vs. Guingamp (H; Coupe de France)


Porto (no change)


It was a mixed week for the Portuguese giants, who went top in the league after they won and Sporting drew, but then were knocked out of the League Cup by their rivals from Lisbon.


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  • Last week: 1-0 vs. Tondela (H; Primeira Liga), 0-0 (lost on penalties) vs. Sporting (A; Taca da Liga)


Juventus (no change)


Under pressure after Napoli’s victory on Sunday, Juventus edged to a narrow win — their fifth straight in league play — the next day. Douglas Costa got the winner with his first goal since October.


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  • Last week: 1-0 vs. Genoa (H; Serie A)


Manchester United (no change)


Burnley away is not easy for any side and Jose Mourinho’s men only secured victory with a fine Anthony Martial goal and solid defence. United didn’t make any other headlines last week, did they?


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  • Last week: 1-0 vs. Burnley (A; Premier League)


Napoli (+2)


Dries Mertens scored a vital winner as the Serie A leaders beat Atalanta. Maurizio Sarri’s men still lead Juventus by one point and have three of their next four league games at their San Paolo home.


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  • Last week: 1-0 vs. Atalanta (A; Serie A)


Shakhtar Donetsk (new)


Paulo Fonseca’s side have a three-point lead in the Ukrainian league, which resumes in mid-February. The big question is whether, when it does, Man City target Fred will still be a Shakhtar player.


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  • Last week: Did not play


PSV Eindhoven (new)


The Eredivisie leaders began the second half of the Dutch season with a win at Heracles, thanks to Luuk de Jong’s winner in the 93rd minute. PSG lead second-placed Ajax by five points.


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  • Last week: 2-1 vs. Heracles (A; Eredivisie)



Gulati: World’s Perception of Trump, USA Factors in

2026 World Cup Bid Vote

By BRIAN STRAUS January 19, 2018

PHILADELPHIA — His presidency ending in large part because of the blowback that followed the failure to advance to this summer’s World Cup, Sunil Gulati said Thursday that he’s now spending 90% of his “waking hours” on ensuring the USA qualifies as host in 2026.Gulati’s 12-year-run as the head of the U.S. Soccer Federation will end Feb. 10. But he remains on the FIFA Council, and for the next five months, he’ll be chairing the bid committee trying to bring the 2026 tournament to the USA, Canada and Mexico. FIFA members will decide between the “United Bid” and Morocco on June 13, and the result of that vote will have a significant impact on Gulati’s legacy (among other things).The North American partners appear to be heavy favorites thanks to their stadiums, infrastructure, size and economic potential (especially considering FIFA’s current financial and sponsorship concerns). But there are always other factors in play. On its own, the USA lost out to Qatar for the right to host in 2022 for reasons that appeared to have little to do with infrastructure, and Gulati acknowledged here Thursday that he’s once again wary of the intangibles.“This will be a tough battle,” he said during a Q&A at the United Soccer Coaches convention. “This is not only about our stadiums and our hotels and all that. It’s about perceptions of America and it’s a difficult time in the world. So, there’s only certain things we control. We can’t control what happens with the 38th parallel in Korea. We can’t control what happens with embassies in Tel Aviv. We can’t control what happens with climate change accords. We do the best we can. We have the support of Washington … we’ll now have to go out and convince what will eventually be 104 [FIFA members] to vote for us.“This won’t be easy.”The partnership with Canada and Mexico—which would see the USA host 60 games in the expanded 48-team competition while its neighbors each host 10—seems to be a savvy hedge against potential concerns about Donald Trump’s administration. But, as Gulati said, politics and the USA’s global image remain issues. The World Cup host will be decided with an election, after all.Gulati has been keeping an eye on this potential pitfall since before Trump took office.“I think the world’s perception is affected by who’s in the White House, yes, and so it has some bearing,” Gulati said in June 2016 when discussing the World Cup bid. “I think having somebody in the White House that gives a the country an outward-looking view and a personality that’s more easily accepted around the world is positive for the United States, and then more specifically for hosting events here and our general image from a sports perspective. But it’s far beyond sports.”In December, Gulati said, “An important part of what we’re doing has got very little to do with the sport, frankly. It’s a lot to do with the [three] countries. … So the message that hopefully this sends about relationships and international relationships is extraordinarily important.”The final bid books and proposals are due to FIFA on March 16. There are 32 cities currently under consideration to host matches, comprising 25 in the USA, four in Canada and three in Mexico. If the United Bid is successful, decisions on host cities likely won’t be made until 2021.


Indy Eleven coach Martin Rennie has a lot to do in a hurry

Kevin Johnston, Special to IndyStarPublished 10:30 p.m. ET Jan. 18, 2018 | Updated 1:24 p.m. ET Jan. 19, 2018


ew Indy Eleven coach Martin Rennie should probably have an asterisk beside his official title. Well, both he and holdover assistant coach Trevor James: *technical director.Some clubs have a lone individual filling the role, while others rely on a general manager or other front office employees to perform the job duties. While it’s certainly not unheard of for a coach to double as technical director — see Jurgen Klinsmann during his U.S. national team tenure or Sporting Kansas City’s Peter Vermes — it certainly puts more on a coach’s plate and adds pressure.For the last year and a half. that’s been the case for the Indy Eleven, since former team president and soccer startup junkie Peter Wilt left the club toward the end of the 2016 spring season. Wilt possesses an advanced soccer acumen, which helped ease the workloads of former coaches. Ex-manager Tim Hankinson and then-assistant coach Tim Regan began having to take the reins in other areas upon Wilt’s departure.Wilt told IndyStar that while he unequivocally gave final say on player decisions to the coach, he took on quite an active role in scouting, networking with agents and overseeing player signings.“I find the type of players (the coach) wants, and then negotiate to try to get them at a price that makes sense for building a team,” Wilt explained of the dynamic during his time in Indy. “I make recommendations based on my knowledge and experience, but really it was (the coach) who had final say.”Wilt was replaced by current team president Jeff Belskus, whose background is in auto racing, having previously served as president of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corp. and its mothership, Hulman & Co. Unlike Wilt, Belskus had no background in professional soccer prior to joining the front office. Belskus’ limitations place the majority of the technical director responsibilities squarely on the coaching staff.It’s a role that Rennie is prepared for, however. Rennie confirmed that he and James will team up to assume the technical director responsibilities just like Hankinson, Regan and James did over the past year and a half.”Yeah, that’s right,” Rennie said. “We’re working on it and we’ve put a lot of time into it, networking and speaking to a lot of people we know.”I’ve built a lot of good connections over the years, and I believe built a good reputation for taking care of players and helping them develop in their careers. It’s exciting to see the players and people who want to be a part of Indy Eleven.”While the Eleven are newbies to the United Soccer League (USL), Rennie certainly isn’t.The veteran Scottish manager coached from 2007-11 for the now-defunct Cleveland City Stars of the former USL Second Division and the Carolina RailHawks, who re-branded to North Carolina FC, in the then-USL First Division.Wilt, who’s currently forming a league, the National Independent Soccer Association (NISA), added that he felt Indy’s jump to the USL was a practical one.“The move to USL will give Indy Eleven much-needed stability,” he said. “So I’m happy for the club in that regard.”Though the Eleven haven’t officially announced any roster moves this offseason, Rennie hopes to have players signed and in training around Feb. 7.



By IndyEleven.com, 01/25/18, 2:30PM EST



Veteran defenders lay foundation for 2018 roster


Indy Eleven Professional Soccer announces the signings of 2017 NASL Best XI defender Reiner Ferreira, and MLS veterans Brad Rusin and Kevin Venegas to the 2018 roster pending league registration.“I’m pleased to let Indy Eleven fans know we have our first new signings for the 2018 squad,” Indy Eleven Head Coach Martin Rennie said. “These players bring exceptional professional soccer experience and position expertise that will form the nucleus we need to build a dynamic and exciting team.”

“I’m thrilled to be joining Indy Eleven,” said former San Francisco Deltas defender Ferreira. “The feeling of winning a championship is incomparable and Coach Dos Santos and I know that firsthand from last year’s success in the NASL.” Ferreira led San Francisco’s back line all year long, starting in 31 games and finishing as the league leader in interceptions with 86.

Rusin, who was born in Crown Point, Indiana, has 73 appearances under Coach Rennie during stints with North Carolina in the USL and Vancouver in MLS. Most recently, Rusin spent time with Miami FC as part of their stellar defending corps that led the NASL in goals against in 2017.
“It’s quite special to come back home to the state I was born and raised in to play for Indy Eleven and its great fans,” said Rusin. “I’m excited to get to work on making 2018 a memorable year for soccer in Indianapolis.”Venegas joins the “Boys in Blue” after spending the last six seasons with Minnesota United FC. The right back was one of the first two Major League Soccer signings in Minnesota United FC history and in 2015 earned a spot in the NASL Best XI.
“I am very excited and anxious to play for Indy Eleven,” said Venegas. “I can’t wait to contribute to an already highly competitive club and hear the support of the Brickyard Battalion every weekend.”




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