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  • Writer's pictureMichael Betz

2022-2023 Offseason Recap

It’s been 106 days since we last saw the Indy Eleven take the field in their 2022 USL Championship finale, and it’s still 44 days until we see them take the field to start the 2023 USL Championship season. This offseason has seen a lot of fan favorite players leave the Boys in Blue and many new faces join the squad. This is the Cue the Smoke 2022-2023 Indy Eleven offseason recap.

Like previously mentioned, the Indy Eleven finished their 2022 season with their regular season finale at Birmingham with a 3-1 loss in mid October. After another season of missing the playoffs, the Indy FO started to make changes to get ready for the 2023 season. To start the offseason, the Indy Eleven made some minor coaching changes. Former player Matt Watson accepted a coaching position with the Indy Eleven at the beginning of the 2022 season. At the end of the 2022 season, Watson accepted a coaching opportunity with conference opponent FC Tulsa. The new coach joining the coaching staff came with some end of season heartache. The 2022 season ended with the retirement of IXI legend Ayoze. At the age of 37 and after 20 years of play both in Spain and here in the US, including the final five years of his career here in Indy, Ayoze hung up the playing boots and got ready for retirement. The team then took to twitter to tease the announcement and then made the news official, that Ayoze was not done being Eleven Forever. Ayoze joined Mark's coaching staff and will continue to be on the sidelines wear the Indy Eleven crest.

Soon after the Ayoze announcement, the team announced the first round of departures. This round was made of players who were brought in either at the beginning of the season, or mid season. Indy Eleven said goodbye to Sam Brown, Sean Lewis, Rodney Michael, Raul Aguilera, Alex McQueen, and Aris Briggs. Mid November rolls around and attention turns to the reigning USL Academy champions, the Indy Eleven academy team. The team once again made it to the playoffs and put forth a 0-0 draw vs Tampa Bay, a 5-0 win vs AC Connecticut, and a 3-3 draw against New Mexico United. The academy squad played in the third place match against North Carolina FC. The team finished fourth with a 4-2 loss. To end the month of November attention switches back to the USLC team. The team announced the second round of departures, this round being the heartbreaker. The first name on this list Jared Timmer who played in Indy for two years, Tor Saunders, Justin Ingram who made his IXI debut in the ‘22 season, Manuel Arteaga who spent two seasons in Indy, Karl Ouimette who spent five years with the team before the team sent him out to Detroit for the ‘22 season on a loan, and finally Neveal Hackshaw who spent four years with the team.

December started and the news got better. The club announced their first signing of the '22-‘23 offseason and it was a familiar face. The first signing of the offseason was former Indy Eleven player Cam Lindley. Cam spent the 2020 season here in Indy before spending a season in San Antonio and Colorado. The next signing came a day later as the club announced Younes Boudadi had signed with the team. Younes spent the last two years with the Hartford Athletic before signing with the Indy Eleven. Indy then announced that they were also signing former Hartford keeper, Yannik Oettl. Following the Oettl signing, the team continued announcements in a rapid fire fashion. The team welcomed Gustavo Rissi to Indy. Rissi spent last season with Rochester NY. Then some sad news had to break into the month of good. Stefano Pinho announced via social media that he would not be returning to Indy for the 2023 season. Pinho announced he would be returning home to be close to family and continue to play soccer. The next day the team made some big waves, announcing the signing of Sebastian Guenzatti from the Tampa Bay Rowdies. And that was the last signing before heading into the new year.

2023 arrived and with it, more new signings. It started with midfielder Jack Blake, who has five years of USL experience, the last two being with the San Diego Loyal. Then the 2023 USL Championship schedule was announced. It started with only knowing our first three games. It started on March 11 at Tampa Bay for their home opener, followed by March 25 for Detroit City’s home opener. The Indy Eleven then have their home opener against the Las Vegas Lights on April first. Then the entire 2023 season schedule dropper. The USL announced that every team would play their conference opponents twice a year, once at home and once on the road. They also announced that every team would play the opposite conference opponents once a year, splitting the conference between home and away games. Here are some key matchups to look at for the 2023 season are; May 27th is the first LIPAFC matchup of the year this game being at Carroll Stadium, July 29th being the away game of LIPAFC, September 30th being the final home game of the year against Detroit City, and October 14th being the season finale against the reigning USLC Champions San Antonio at San Antonio.

The most recent news comes via transfer from Phoenix Rising. After spending the last two years in Phoenix, the Indy Eleven acquired Aodhan Quinn via transfer. The Indy Eleven announced their 2023 preseason schedule on Thursday the 26th. The preseason starts on Friday February 10th vs Butler, it's then followed up by a match vs. IWU that will be streamed on ISC Sports Network on the 14th. The Indy Eleven will have one open door preseason match and it will be the match on Sunday February 19th vs Chicago Fire 2 of the MLS Next Pro. This match is open to all 2023 season ticket members and will take place at 3:00pm at Grand Park. The 11 will then finish their preseason with a game against MLS side Chicago fire on the 25th and a match with USL League One side Forward Madison on March 3rd before heading to Tampa Bay for the season opener on March 11th. Of course all 2023 USL games will be broadcasted on ESPN+, if you can't make it to either Tampa for the home opener or any game throughout the 2023 season. That is all the Indy Eleven updates, but be sure to check up on the site through the rest of the offseason and the entirety of the 2023 USLC and USLW season.

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