Brickyard Battalion is Loud, Proud for the Eleven
Writer / Barbara Augsdorfer
Indianapolis has the Colts, and there are Colts fans. Indianapolis has the Pacers, and there are Pacers fans. Indianapolis has the Indians, and there are Indians fans. Indianapolis has the Ice, and there are Ice fans.
Now Indianapolis has the Eleven — and the Eleven has its supporters. Supporters? Well, soccer is different. Soccer is an international sport, and supporters are quick to say that they are more than just fans. Supporters are passionately involved with their team. For the Indy Eleven, and don’t use “11” because that makes them unhappy, the Brickyard Battalion are the supporters. The “Brickers” are organized into chapters from Carmel and Fishers to Bloomington, Indianapolis and finally the south side — Center Grove, Southport and Franklin. There are 2,500 members of the Brickyard Battalion and the “Southies” are at 30 and growing. The Southie Brickers BYB meets at the Blind Pig in Greenwood to watch international soccer matches. Recently the Southies gathered to watch the United States vs. Ukraine followed by Spain vs. Italy.
Still not sure what a “Bricker” is? According to the Indy Eleven website, “The Brickyard Battalion is a general admission, standing, supporters section that features drums, banners and other active displays of team support. Fans are encouraged to participate in section activities, such as team songs and chants. “We’re like a rowdy student section,” says one of the Southie founders, Johnny Baker. Forewarned is forearmed. Be prepared. The Brickyard Battalion will be behind the west goal at Carroll Stadium on the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis campus, and yes, they will be loud.
The catalyst of the Southie Brickers is Tyler Drake, 23, of Center Grove. Drake played soccer as a youngster and really loves the game. When he learned about the new North American Soccer League franchise in Indianapolis, he was totally on board. He really wanted a south side chapter of the Brickyard Battalion. Drake is quick to say that the Indy Eleven is not a minor league team, but rather a second division team. “The Indy Eleven will play first division teams during its season,” Drake says. And with 2014 being a World Cup year, the games are divided into spring and fall seasons. The spring season will end in early July to break for the FIFA World Cup tournament. The fall season starts in August and runs through November.
The Indy Eleven is billed as “Indiana’s Team” — with no disrespect toward the Colts, Pacers, Indians or Ice. “Indianapolis prides itself on being the amateur sports capital of the world,” says Drake. He adds that Indy hosts NCAA basketball tournaments and even the Final Four, in addition to other amateur and college sports events. “But you have to have a good professional soccer team to be an international city,” he says, “and a good soccer team has to have supporters.” With a good soccer team and passionate supporters, the Brickers hope to attract the attention of the international soccer world.
Another aspect of the Indy Eleven is that it wants to be the community’s team. To that end, the team has been involved in “Goals for Indy,” partnering with Goalrilla, the Evansville-based sports training equipment maker, and other events hosted by various corporate sponsors. Check out the Indy Eleven website at indyeleven.com for the latest information. And if you think there aren’t soccer fans in Indianapolis, look again. Even before the first game, 7,000 season tickets were sold, forcing IUPUI to add bleacher seats to Carroll Stadium. The Indy Eleven Facebook page (facebook.com/IndyEleven) has more than 35,000 “likes,” the Brickyard Battalion Facebook page (facebook.com/BrickyardBattalion) has more than 2,500 “likes” and the Southies (facebook.com/SouthieBrickersBYB/timeline) are closing in on 100 “likes.” Yeah, there are more than a few soccer fans in Indiana.
Barbara Augsdorfer is a graduate of California Lutheran University with more than 20 years of writing and editing experience in the publishing industry. Barbara had an aunt and grandmother who survived breast cancer. Her mother-in-law is currently undergoing radiation treatments after a lumpectomy last spring.