Building a Roster: Sommer Searching for His Team

From homegrown players like Robbie Lynch to seasoned internationals like Yossi Benayoun, Indy Eleven is in the process of constructing an impressive roster
by Doug Starnes   |   Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Checkered Flags – column on Indy NASL (Indy FC) & the Indianapolis soccer scene.

Indy Eleven manager Juergen Sommer recently returned to Indianapolis after a scouting excursion to Honduras. Utilizing contacts Sommer established as a former Indiana University player and contacts Club President/General Manager Peter Wilt has from his years with the Chicago Fire of the MLS, Sommer scouted and assesed a number of players who might eventually find their way on to the Indy Eleven roster for the club’s inaugural season.

As Sommer said in an interview for the club’s website, “I’ve got a pulse on about a half dozen players, and if we can get 1 or 2 of those guys to come to Indy Eleven I think we will have done very well to add some very technical players and a great foundation to the international piece of our team.”

Additionally, local players who impressed in this summer’s open tryout sessions have been taking part in several minicamps held at Westfield, Indiana’s Grand Park, a sprawling state-of-the-art sports complex located north of Indianapolis. Players like Robbie Lynch, a former Carmel United and University of Evansville standout, are approaching the closing stages of contract negotiations with the club and may be unveiled as homegrown talents as soon as Nov. 11 at Indy Eleven’s next “Eleven on the 11th” promotional event.  

On a scale of one to, dare I say, 11, if homegrown talents are a one or two, Honduran professionals a four or five, and Kristian Nicht, a veteran German goalkeeper and the club’s first signing, a six or seven, Indy Eleven is aiming to land a 10 or 11.

Sources with the club have confirmed that representatives of Yossi Benayoun, the Israeli international and former West Ham, Liverpool, Chelsea, and Arsenal player, contacted Indy Eleven to gauge interest and the feasibility of bringing the attacking midfielder to Indianapolis. Benayoun decided instead to sign with Queens Park Rangers of the English League Championship, but other recognizable names such as Eidur Gudjohnsen have also apparently expressed interest in plying their trade in the NASL with Indy Eleven.

New York Cosmos have put down a marker with this season’s acquisition of Marcos Senna, and Indy Eleven clearly has no intention of letting NASL’s most visible team retain that distinction without a challenge.

Indy Eleven’s first roster will certainly be responsibly assembled and contain young, homegrown developmental projects and exciting, international professionals, but the club is also out there looking for an 11, and the rest of the NASL is on notice.      


Baylor Univ.
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A reformed goalkeeper, cheese enthusiast, beer aficionado, and all around unrequited lover of The Beautiful Game, Doug currently resides in Indianapolis and is chomping at the bit to cover Indy Pro Soccer in all of its soon to be glory.