Indy Eleven is so ready for its inaugural North American Soccer League game on April 12 that, in the interim, the team will take on 2012 NCAA champs Indiana University, the University of Louisville and the Tourbeau Soccer Academy at Westfield High School. Oh, yeah, and they are also challenging Major League Soccer's Chicago Fire.
The fun begins this weekend as the team gets the city fired up by visiting pick-up games being hosted from 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. at 100 spots around town. People can find a game in their neighborhood at GoalsForIndy.com
Then, once people's futbol mojo is kickin', fans can flock north for the 7 p.m. Tourbeau Soccer Academy match at Westfield High School, 18250 N. Union St. Parking is free and food trucks will be on site for sustenance. Tickets are, of course, $11; only 1,000 will be sold.
Portions of the proceeds will support the Westfield Youth Soccer Association and the Indiana Soccer Foundation, which is working with Indy Eleven to build a futsal field for public use at an Indianapolis park.
The team will hit the road on March 22 to play the University of Louisville Cardinals in Kentucky at 7:30 p.m. in Cardinal Park. Admission to the game is free with a minimum $2 donation
for Indy Eleven fans. Click here
for tickets and use the promo code "eleven" after clicking "Find Tickets."
The Chicago Fire match follows at 7:30 p.m. on April 1 at the Boilermaker Soccer Complex, 1350 McCormick Road, in West Lafayette. This match will also offer an opportunity for a face-off between supporters' clubs as the Brickyard Battalion
will go head to head with the Fire's Section 8
The Fire game marks Indy Eleven's sixth exhibition game against an MLS so far this year - but all other matches have been out of state during pre-season training activities, so the match in West Lafayette will be fans' first chance to see how talent stacks up between the two leagues. [NASL and MLS teams faceoff each year in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup
The preseason romp culminates at 7:30 p.m. on April 4 when the squad, or as the team's communications director John Koluder has dubbed them, our "checkered-clad heroes" take on the I.U. Hoosiers at IUPUI's Michael A. Carroll Stadium. Tickets for the Hoosiers will also cost $11 (plus fees) regardless of section, with $1 from each ticket sold going to the Indiana Soccer Foundation.
This final match will also serve as test run on game day management at Carroll in preparation for Indy Eleven's April 12 season opener against the NASL's Carolina RailHawks. Home games will be aired live on MyINDY TV-23.
For more info on tickets, visit IndyEleven.com
or call 317-685-1100 weekdays from 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
[Full disclosure: This reporter considers Indy Eleven family with which she enjoys watching, playing and building soccer. She is a season ticket holder, wears Indy Eleven gear and is a card-carrying member of the Brickyard Battalion, which is free to join and offers discounts at supporting establishments across town (20 percent off food orders at Union Jack, for example). On the subject of soccer, she must confess a personal passion that can't help but shape her reporting on the subject. She appreciates readers' indulgence on this one particular beat because if she had to choose between soccer and journalism, she'd be unemployed.]