A first in Indiana futbol — the Higher Ed Head-To-Head alumni soccer challenge

An Earlham College Hustlin' Quaker works the ball in 2010. E.C. will be hosting a tailgate party and celebrating the career of long-time soccer coach Roy Messer, who in May passed his coaching torch on to Sam Byrd, '03. The party is on! (Photo courtesy of Earlham College via Flickr Creative Commons)

An Earlham College Hustlin’ Quaker works the ball in 2010. E.C. will be hosting a tailgate party and celebrating the career of long-time soccer coach Roy Messer, who in May, after 34 years of tutoring hundreds of players in the beautiful game, passed his coaching torch on to Sam Byrd, ’03. The party is on! (Photo courtesy of Earlham College via Flickr Creative Commons)

Organizing Teams for a One-of-a-Kind Tournament
Alumni from all 37 of Indiana’s collegiate soccer programs invited to play

As an exercise in building the state’s soccer community, I started to think about how to engage people statewide who are passionate about the sport.

The idea occurred to me to bring alumni of the state’s different soccer programs together for an afternoon of games and socializing, followed by an Indy Eleven game. The idea became more compelling upon discovering that Indiana has 37 collegiate soccer programs! These programs are divided over several different leagues and are scattered in every corner of the state; they never see each other in the same place at the same time. How fun to bring everyone together for once!

So that’s what we’re doing.

On Saturday, Aug. 1, beginning at 2 p.m. at IUPUI’s Michael Carroll Stadium, the inaugural Indy Eleven Higher Ed Head-To-Head will kick off. Men’s, women’s and co-ed matches will be played. These games will be followed by the Indy Eleven v. Atlanta Silverbacks match. Jamaica Reggae Grill has donated food at cost so that we can sell meat and vegetarian plates to support local soccer charities.

Player registration (which includes the Indy Eleven game) is $18; friends and family registration (which includes the Indy game) is $10. Indy Eleven will launch online registration on July 20 and welcomes questions at any time at 317-685-1100. The team has established the following Facebook Event page so people can track logistical details as we move close to game day: https://www.facebook.com/events/951037728251570/

If we want a stadium so that we can accommodate professional men’s and women’s programs and host world-class matches, if we want Futsol for Indiana initiative to provide training courts to underprivileged communities, if we want to build on our existing foundation of producing champion soccer players by providing the best coaching and player support, coming together in a fun, soccer-centered environment will help us accomplish these goals.

Many schools have greeted my calls and emails with enthusiasm; several others have yet to get involved — mostly because coaches are overwhelmed with traveling, scouting and camps in the summer. The key to engagement is finding players to step up and organize their fellow alumni, thus removing what may seem too overwhelming a task from harried coaches to-do lists.

This is a call to action: If you played or know players from schools who are organizing or have yet to organize, it is not too late to join us for our inaugural tournament. Just drop me a line or post a note to the Facebook page and organizers will help get you situated.

The following schools are working on building their teams; former players are welcome to join them:

Ball State (women/exploring)

Bethel College (men)

Butler University (men)

DePauw (men)

Earlham College (men’s and women’s)

Franklin College (men)

Indiana State (women)

Indiana Tech (polling players for interest)

IPFW (IU/Purdue Fort Wayne)

IU Bloomington (men)

Marian University (men’s and women’s)

Oakland City University (men)

University of Evansville (men)

Schools that still need alumni players to step up and lead include:

Anderson (men/women)

Bethel College (women)

Butler (women)

Calumet College of St. Joseph (men/women)

DePauw (women)

Franklin College (women)

Goshen College (men/women)

Grace College and Theological Seminary (men/women)

Hanover men (Hanover women declined to participate because they have an additional event)

Holy Cross College at Notre Dame (men/women)

Huntington University (men/women)

Indiana Tech (women)

IUFW (women)

IUPUI (women)

IU (women)

Indiana Weslyn (men/women)

Manchester College (men/women)

Oakland City (women)

Purdue (women)

Rose-Hulman (men/women)

St. Josephs College (men/women)

St. Mary’s College in South Bend (women)

St. Mary of Woods (women)

Taylor (men/women)

University of Evansville (women)

University of Indianapolis (men/women)

University of Notre Dame (men/women)

University of St. Francis (men/women)

University of Southern Indiana (men/women)

Valparaiso University (men/women)

Wabash (men)

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