The Boys of SommerIndy Eleven name Juergen Sommer as team’s first manager
by Doug Starnes | Wednesday, June 12, 2013
Indy Eleven today announced the appointment of Juergen Sommer as Head Coach and Director of Soccer Operations.
Full disclosure: Growing up, Sommer was one of my soccer idols. As an American goalkeeper, he was the quiet trailblazer making the way for American talent overseas before Tony Meola’s under-shave pony-tail captured the hearts and minds of an American youth soccer demographic that previously had no red, white and blue superheroes for which to cheer.
As far as I’m concerned, Indy Eleven could not have made a better appointment.
Last night at Flat 12 Bierworks, the mood was light and festive as over 200 RSVP only attendees gathered to press the flesh and welcome Sommer to one of the NASL’s newest franchises.
Taking the microphone from Indy President Peter Wilt, Sommer said, “We hope to make this a world-class organization. …Be patient with us; we have a couple of years to kind of build up and get going. We’re quietly humble, but we’re very competitive. We want to get out and do it the right way and represent the city in the right way. We want to kick some ass and win some games.”
Sommer’s comments were met with enthusiastic applause, and the general consensus around Indianapolis and the sporting community is that a better appointment could not have been made.
Although born in New York, Sommer is an adopted Hoosier, having played in high school at Culver Academy and collegiately at Indiana University. In addition to his days in England playing for the likes of Brighton & Hove Albion and Queens Park Rangers, Sommer also played in MLS for the New England Revolution and Columbus Crew, and served a stint as the US Men’s National Team goalkeeper coach.
In short, Sommer ticks all the boxes – Indiana ties, invested in US soccer, playing and coaching chops to give the club immediate credibility.
As Wilt said last night: “When we announced the team in January, one of the things we committed to was being the world’s game and Indiana’s team. I said it’s just words unless we back it up with a coach from Indiana and players from Indiana. Today we delivered on a coach from Indiana!”
Now Sommer can get down to the business of finding the players from Indiana. In a state so rich with soccer talent, he shouldn’t have to look too far.