INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Indiana’s only professional soccer team hopes to get a little Valentine’s Day love from state and city leaders by asking them to show love for soccer.
Indy Eleven players are joining legislative leaders and fans to present their plans for a new stadium and ask for a hearing on Senate Bill 543.
The bill would allow the club to build a multi-purpose facility that includes a 20,000 seat arena made for soccer.
The club’s owner says the $550 million project would not raise taxes and all the risk would be on developer backed bonds.
If lawmakers pass the bill, the club would have two years to work with city leaders on where it would go and how it would look.
The team’s head coach, Martin Rennie, says he came to Indy because of the potential he saw.
“The potential to build something good,” says Rennie. “Sometimes, I don’t think that clubs have the ambition that Indy Eleven does. The ownership has high expectations, and what we can do in the future in terms of building the organization, building the interest in the game, building the team and making it stronger.”
The club believes a stadium would show the team is serious and here to stay.
“Soccer being the most global, largest sport in the world, I can’t see a city being a really global city without a professional team, and a great venue to showcase that,” says owner Ersal Ozdemir.
In the team’s sixth year, they ranked second in the United Soccer League in fan attendance. Ozdemir says they hope to be number one in 2019.
“We want to show that hundreds of thousands of kids play soccer around the state, and it continues to grow as well with adults. It’s the world’s largest sport.”
Ozdemir says they have stadium locations in mind all over the city including Broad Ripple, which is home to a large part of their season ticket holding base.
“All of our sports teams play in stadiums that are properly designed for that sport,” he says. “It’s no different for soccer, or any business for that matter. You need the right venue for that business to be successful.”