ISR Managing Editor
INDIANAPOLIS – The weather in Indianapolis may be turning towards winter, but the only thing on the minds of the Indy Eleven staff is spring. As the NASL side inches closer to finalizing their roster for the spring 2014 season, the contending players will be playing a pair of closed-door scrimmages over the next two weeks.
“These scrimmages are the best way to get a look at the players on trail in a match setting against quality competition,” said Indy Eleven Head Coach Jurgen Sommer.
The future Indy Eleven hopefuls will suit up against the reserves of the MLS side Columbus Crew.
Over the past weeks the Indy Eleven staff has been holding a “mini-camp” of sorts at Grand Park in Westfield. The training sessions offered the team a chance to take another look at trailists from the summer sessions while also adding new talent into the pool.
“The first week will be instrumental in kind of getting a final picture of those (local and Midwest-based) players,” said Sommer. “The following two weeks we’ll branch out more geographically and bring in more guys from across the country and internationally as well, while building around that local core.”
The Eleven made history on the first of October when they signed their first ever player, Goalkeeper Kristian Nicht. The keeper will join the roster after being named the USL Pro Goalkeeper of the Year in 2012. As the roster continues to come together it looks like Nicht won’t be the only international player on the team.
“For the greatest amount of talent and value, both on the field and off of it, you have to look at Central America right now,” Sommer said. The Eleven Head Coach and Director of Soccer Operations recently returned from a scouting trip to Honduras. “These are countries where we think we can pull players away from and have a realistic chance to bring them aboard.”
Based on the amount of activity in the club, it would appear that anxious fans won’t have to wait long for another signing. “I think we’ll make some decisions on three or four guys here in early November, primarily the local guys,” said Sommer. “As we continue to run through these training sessions over the next few weeks I think that will lead us to another group of signings towards the end of November.”
The team plans to assemble at least half of the roster by the end of the November training sessions. That timeline will allow Sommer to travel and scout new players while also attempting to poach MLS free agents. The roster is on track to be finalized by the end of January.
For more, read the Q&A with Coach Sommer: http://indyeleven.com/sommer-october-roster-qanda/
Kristin Haseley is the Managing Editor and Indy Eleven Beat Writer for Indy Sports Report. Follow Kristinand the Indy Sports Report on Twitter.