INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Fans of Indy Eleven’s “Boys in Blue” are getting ready for the return of USL soccer.
“Our goal, win the championship, go win the league. I was like, this year was it.” said Indy Eleven defender Paddy Barrett.
Just one match into the Indy Eleven’s 2020 campaign, they were forced to hit pause due to the coronavirus pandemic. For three months they waited in limbo to see if the United Soccer League would shut down for good like every other professional feeder league in the world of sports.
But the USL marches on, and the “Boys in Blue” are back at it!
“We’re just happy that there’s a season coming up,” said Indy Eleven Head Coach Martin Rennie. “For us in Indy, we’ve got a really good team now, you know, I’ve taken a little bit of time to build it. So we really don’t want to miss the opportunity and showcase that.”
And unlike every other sport everywhere else, the boys in blue held the fort down in the Circle City. Because with a roster made up of over nine different countries around the world, their only choice was to stick it out and stay ready, together.
“We’re one of the teams who kept everybody together. And I think that has to be really important because it’s given us a lot more lead time to train together for some teams probably haven’t had that,” said Rennie.
“It’s a difficult one because we are over here and kind of don’t have our loved ones or family,” Barrett added. “It’s not the most ideal situation because you want to go on the pitch to play and the problem would be, is getting back into America because I’m not a citizen.”
Barrett is the youngest of 11 kids, and the rest of his relatives reside in Ireland. Being away from his big family was tougher than expected. But it turns out when you’re stuck with your entire team, they turn into family.
“The best part is, twelve of us live in the same apartment complex. So we’ve been kind of been able to be together as a team, which has been fantastic. We’ve been able to do different things. We’ve been able to get to know each other better. And now that we’re back training, it shows,” said Indy Eleven midfielder Cameron Lindley.
“I honestly can’t imagine other teams are going to be in a better place than we are like that the attitude, the fitness, the strength of the players is as high as it could possibly be,” said Rennie.
The silver lining of quarantining together — it only makes you stronger.