2023 Is Looking Bright
On April 18th we got our first look at the Indy Eleven Women's 2023 roster during a club driven live interview between Ian Gilmour & Paul Dolinsky. It was also announced that the full lineup would be announced on April 20th.
You will notice that Indy Eleven’s 2022 starting keeper Mackenzie Wood is not returning to the 2023 Indy Eleven roster, that is simply because she signed a contract with NWSL's Chicago Red Stars just a few days before their season kicked off earlier this year. Instead in goal we have not just one but 2 former Noblesville Miller that were announced on the 18th. Nona Reason making her return after spending her freshmen year at the University of North Carolina. Making her debut with the club & rejoining her former teammate in goal is Sara Kile. Sara is coming off of her sophomore season at Purdue where she had a save percentage of 73%.
9 total players are returning from 2022. In most scenarios, this doesn't look good when you have a roster as big as the Indy Eleven (33 players.) However, that is the nature of the USL W League. Coach Dolinsky even mentioned that during the interview. Of the 9 returning players, Katie Soderstrom, Maddy Williams, Ella Rogers, & Addie Chester came to combine 24 goals. Katie lead the club with 11 goals, with Maddy right on her tail ending the season with 10. Those of you who have kept up to date with them would know that Katie had joined Angel City of the NWSL on what we conceive to be a tryout deal. Dolinsky mentioned that the tryout period didn't quite work the way Katie had hoped and returns to Indy with hopes to prepare for a trip across the pond come the fall. If Katie can repeat the success of leading the club with 11 goals, there is no reasonable reason we can think of that would make a professional club not want her.
Joining Katie just so happens to be a very familiar face to her. Susie Soderstrom, Katie’s sister, will joins the Ladies In Blue for the 2023 season. During the interview, Susie was listed as a forward, however, on the team roster she is listed as a midfield. Until the ladies take the field on May 10 at St Charles FC, we won’t fully know what Dolinsky’s plan is for this sister-sister combo.
Out of the 33 players, 5 countries are represented. USA, Japan (x2,) England (x2,) Australia, & Colombia. Every player has ties to either a college or high school here in the states. The farthest domestic player comes from San Diego, California in Maisie Whitsett who is a University of Louisville alum. The shortest distance traveled to get here? Well, that all depends on how "close" we want to get. The Hoosier state is represented by 11 native players (fitting, isn't it?) Noblesville, Indianapolis, Carmel, Muncie, Lafayette, Granger, & Jasper are all represented. 10 players have spent or are currently spending time in colleges/universities in the Hoosier state.
During the interview, Dolinsky said that the plan is to take it “one game at a time.” With playoffs on the mind, the staff had to think about the timing of playoffs when signing players to the 2023 roster. Last season, we saw a decent number of players having to return to their college campus to prepare for their fall collegiate season. This year, with a handful of collegiate alum and several local college players, it appears that the roster would be minimally damaged come playoffs. And yes, Paul Dolinsky is looking at playoffs this year. “We won it (the division) last year. That’s the thought again this year.” Also stating that “the goal is to win and make it to playoffs.” One interesting comment he made during the interview was “we are not here just to get ready for the college season. We are trying to develop and create pro’s.” Can’t help but think of the 9 different collegiate alumni when hearing that statement. As mentioned earlier, Katie Soderstrom had the opportunity to train with Angel City earlier this year. It is unknown why they didn’t go on to sign her to a pro contract. However, a testament to the afore mentioned statement, Mackenzie Wood (now with Chicago Red Stars of the NWSL) & Robyn McCarthy (now with Idrettsklubben Grand Bodø out in Norweigh,) show that what Dolinsky and his staff are doing, can and will benefit these ladies in the long run.
To watch the interview in all its Ian Gilmour glory, clink the link to view it on the Indy Eleven YouTube page: https://www.youtube.com/live/QgmoxLAIeYQ?feature=share
To read the full 2023 roster announcement, head on over to https://www.indyeleven.com/news/2023/04/20/w-league-roster-staff-2023/?fbclid=IwAR39sc3A8OQlk0MoS8-cckdUFUDOv6pR_OC_VhI3TVucx7fulEMV-yMqQdQ
For more information on the Indy Eleven's Women's side, head on over to https://www.indyeleven.com/wleague/