Pro soccer is within Indy's grasp 



At the behest of an unnamed group of investors, Peter Wilt, former president and general manager of the Chicago Fire Major League Soccer team, has set up shop Downtown to investigate the feasibility of bringing pro soccer to Indiana.

"The community is being given an opportunity to step up and say we want a team or we don't a team," Wilt said.

Based on what he's heard so far, Wilt added, he is "cautiously optimistic that come a month from now we'll be able to say there's going to be professional soccer in Indianapolis."

Expect a decision and formal announcement at the annual convention of the National Soccer Coaches of America, which will be held in Indy Jan. 16-20.

Meanwhile, soccer fans can support the team's development in a few crucial ways:

++ Visit IndyProSoccer.com and let organizers know your preferences on the team name, team colors and preferred field venue — Butler University's Butler Bowl or IUPUI's Carroll Stadium.

++ Take the next step and pledge support for season tickets — no cash required, just an indication of potential support. For a 15-home game season with games played on Saturday nights, organizers estimate a season pass could cost as little as $125. A single game ticket is currently estimated range from $10 to $28. Individual and corporate pledges are encouraged.

++ Join the Brickyard Battalion fan club (membership is free) to rally grassroots support for an Indiana team.

The Battalion has been active for two years, rallying support. The idea is to start with a North American Soccer League, a second-division professional league, which paves the way for possible expansion to MLS.

Such activity is "priceless," Wilt said. "If the team sprouts from the bottom up, it will have strong roots and be more sustainable than if it's just pushed down from on top."

Indeed, he explained, breeding a type of "tribalism" is what fuels the world's greatest teams.

If the Hoosier tribe wants Indiana to field a great team, NOW is the time energize as many active supporters as possible.

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