Indy Eleven's General Manager Peter Wilt held a press conference yesterday to announce the team was firing its coach, Juergen Sommer, early in the team's second season as a minor league professional soccer team. It seems Wilt and the team's owner, Ersal Ozdemir, weren't satisfied with the team's record (7-13-15). The team's assistant coach, Tim Regan, will assume the role as the team's new coach.
WTHR's sports analyst Bob Kravitz wonders if the Indy Eleven hasn't bitten off more than it can chew. They're so focused on marketing, getting a taxpayer-built, multi-million dollar stadium and becoming a major league soccer team that they seem to forget they're just a minor league team in the start of their second season. Kravitz spoke to Sommer, who was frustrated that the team's management is ignoring the fundamentals, such as having a practice facility, a full staff and basic lockerrooms for players:
"It's frustrating - disappointing, really - that the vision was so short-sighted and more of a popularity contest than an active building, foundational process," Sommer said Tuesday night. "When you start with nothing, it's going to take time. We don't have housing for our players. We didn't really have a medical training facility. It was one construction trailer for 24 players, six staff people, no showers, no bathrooms. It takes time to build those things and those things matter in sports. Those are things that have to be addressed.
"Obviously, I didn't want to see it come to an end like this. You at least want the opportunity to take something you started from the low ground and get it up and running. It's as if we were trying to run before we walked. You've got to be honest with yourself: You get into a professional sports league, it's a lot more competitive than ownership and leadership give it credit for. It requires a lot of work to get there. We were trying to be competitive with what we had, but it wasn't going to come overnight, and I think that's what folks were looking for. It doesn't work that way. Sports are hard, hard work. We don't have the resources or the personnel to do that, so you do your best day-by-day. But some people are more inclined to treat it like a popularity contest."