Indy Eleven submits application to join Major League Soccer

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Indy Eleven has set its sights on the highest level of American soccer.

Officials with the Indianapolis soccer team say they are pursuing one of the four Major League Soccer spots.

The team plans to submit paperwork to MLS headquarters in New York Tuesday afternoon. Indianapolis will become the 12th city hoping to enter the league.

This news comes less than 30 days after the team’s current league, the North American Soccer League, received a stay of execution.

But a spokesperson for the team says the decision to specifically aim for the MLS franchise has less to do with league turbulence, and more to do with the expansion timeline MLS laid out in December.

A potential stumbling block for the Eleven’s chances would be its unsettled stadium situation.

The Eleven play in IUPUI’s Michael Carroll Stadium and had a proposed $82 million deal for a new stadium shot down by the state legislature in 2015. The plan called for more than 18,000 seats and permanent housing for the Eleven and more than 30  other entertainment and sporting events annually.

A team spokesperson points out that the two measures passed both the Indiana House and Senate with wide margins failed to make it out of a special conference committee.

The club’s growing ownership will once again propose a public-private partnership for a downtown facility in the coming days and weeks.

If built, the new stadium would be located between Lucas Oil Stadium and the White River.

“We have a lot of energy for building a soccer stadium here,” Indy Eleven President, Jeff Belskus told Sports Illustrated, “We’ve proven Indianapolis has the fan base to support soccer. It will support pro soccer and it will support Major League Soccer … It’s so logical for us.”

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