11 with the Eleven: Daniel Keller 

click to enlarge INDY ELEVEN/TREVOR RUSZKOWSKI
  • Indy Eleven/Trevor Ruszkowski

Due to unforeseen circumstances this weekly player profile series had to take more than a few weeks off. With that being said, it's back and better than ever with hometown dude Daniel Keller being featured this go-around.

NUVO: How did you feel being named a captain your senior season at Louisville after being redshirted?

Daniel Keller: It felt great because I put so much time and effort into my game at Louisville in the three years leading up to it and to see my hard work and dedication pay off, knowing that the coaches respected me and my work to give me that title going into my senior season meant the world to me. I know the responsibilities that come with being captain, you’re the leader of the team, the first to blame if the team loses. It’s a lot of responsibility but I was ready to take that step. The season went pretty well for us, we had ups and downs but being able to play a leadership role in that season was something that I’ll never forget.

NUVO: How do you think being named captain helped you grow as a player?

Keller: A lot of times in games you’ll find adversity, whether you go down a goal or down a man. If you’re not a captain — not one of the leaders on the team — you look towards someone else to say “hey, let’s make this change or let’s make that change.” But as a captain it’s you that is supposed to step up and figure out what needs to change, whether it’s an effort thing, a tactical thing, that’s up to the leaders on the field. The coach can give as many instructions as he wants but the game is so fluid that when a game needs a change it’s up to the captains to.

NUVO: What aspect of your game are you trying to improve on most right now?

Keller: Obviously there’s no such thing as a perfect soccer player and everybody can improve on all areas. Specifically for me, I’ve been playing the last three games at center back and leading up to that point I was training at a bunch of different positions in practice. Some days I’d be an outside back, some days I’d be a center-mid. So for me right now I’m focusing on getting back into the mindset of a center back and all that entails. In college I was a center back so going back to those days and trying to get into the mind of a center back, where you’re not necessarily stepping up into the midfield trying to win every ball like you are as a holding mid. Being the organizer in the back, communicating with my defenders, those are two of the big things I’ve been focusing on in the past two weeks.

RELATED: 11 with the Eleven: Marco Franco

NUVO: How difficult is it for you — or a player in general — to switch positions often?

Keller: It’s difficult, however the positions I play are generally more defensive so for me it’s always defense first. That mindset really doesn’t change.

NUVO: How does it feel to play professionally in what is essentially your hometown?

Keller: It feels great. Getting to play in front of my family and friends every home game is a huge blessing. I’m originally from Carmel and it’s a 30-minute commute to Carroll Stadium and I have such supportive friends and family that they always try to make it to the game. After a game I play — or not play — I’ll get texts from a bunch of people saying “congrats on the win.” That kind of support goes a long way.

RELATED: 11 with the Eleven: Éamon Zayed

NUVO: Where’s you favorite spot to eat in town?

Keller: I would definitely have to say Wild Eggs in Carmel. It opened a few months ago. The reason I like it so much is because Wild Eggs is headquartered in Louisville, where I went to college. I’d usually go to there every two weeks, usually before soccer games. When I heard they were going to bring it to Carmel I was ecstatic. Great food, great atmosphere and the staff is really friendly. I highly recommend it.

NUVO: What would you say is one hidden gem around the Indy area?

Keller: I’m not quite sure it’s hidden but there’s a lot of nice parks. I think the greatest resource our city has is the Monon Trail. We have really easy access to it so on an off day I might run a few miles. Most of it is covered by shade and some of the landmarks you pass by are really cool. People are normally really friendly. It’s cool because it used to be a railroad and they converted it to a trail for people bike and run.

NUVO: What is the weirdest gift you’ve ever received from someone?

Keller: I wasn’t quite sure if it was legit or not but for my graduation gift from high school I got a cat bag. You know a bag that you put a computer in or a bag that you bring towels in to the beach — it just a had a bunch of cats on it. I’m not even a cat person. I ended up giving it to Goodwill or something.

NUVO: Do you have any pets?

Keller: I’m allergic to dogs. I had a fish growing up which lasted for like a day, that was the closest thing I ever had to a pet.

NUVO: If you could switch shoes with any athlete, any sport, who would it be?

Keller: That’s an easy choice for me. I really appreciate everything Andrew Luck does for the Indianapolis Colts. I appreciate the kind of athlete he is and most importantly I appreciate the kind of person he is off the field. Growing up I was a huge Colts fan and still am. The way Luck carries himself on and off the field, win or loss is admirable. He’s one of the sharpest guys in the game and I can really respect that. Being a college graduate myself, I like to see that in other athletes.

NUVO: What’s your prediction for the Colts this season?

Keller: You know my optimistic side says we’ll finish 10-6 if everyone stays healthy. If guys continue to be banged up I’m going to say 8-8.

RELATED: Hobbson's wacky Colts season preview

NUVO: Playoffs?

Keller: It just depends on the AFC South. Two wins against the Texans would be massive. Contrary to what a lot of analysts think, I don’t think the AFC South is going to be that strong this year. I think we’ll barely make the playoffs with it coming down to a tiebreaker with us and the Texans.

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NUVO: What kind of music are you listening to right now?

Keller: I’ve been really hooked on Coldplay. I went to their concert when they came into town and I’m a really big fan of their new album. I can listen to Coldplay in whatever mood I’m in. If anybody has a chance to see Coldplay live they should definitely do it. They sound just like their CD’s.

NUVO: I’m going to throw you on the spot and ask you your favorite Coldplay song.

Keller: I’m going to change the question a little bit and say that my favorite Coldplay song live is for sure Adventure of a Lifetime. I’ve never heard a better song live. The cool special effects that went along with the song, the balloons, the lights, the overall mood was perfect.

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