Last night, a few friends and I went to the International Champions Cup match at Lucas Oil Stadium. Chelsea vs Inter Milan, in Indianapolis. The fact that this match happened right here, in Indy, is huge. The fact that almost 42,000 people showed up is just awesome. I can’t tell you how cool it was for me to leave the stadium, walk down Capitol Avenue and be surrounded by a sea of humanity - for soccer. Soccer! Chelsea flags were waving everywhere, Chelsea chants filled the air, and four kids were kicking around a mini soccer ball while weaving through the crowd. And the best part? Everyone joined in when the ball would go astray. It was such a fun atmosphere, one that I’d say most would have laughed at it’s mere possibility a few years ago.
I bought 11 tickets as part of a presale a few months ago, seated way up in section 642, row 14. That is up there, trust me. But the seats weren’t bad at all; we were near midfield, around the would-be 45 yard line in football. And we had a good view of the whole field. Awesome, right? Yes, until we moved down to section 153, behind the north goal. I’d call that an upgrade. And then, we moved over a one section, to section 101 - and into the third row. That’s where the above photo was taken, right after the match.
It really was a great event. And a great way to get people in Indianapolis interested in, and honestly just talking about soccer. Having two elite teams from Europe will do that, but even Chelsea and Inter wouldn’t have drawn this crowd without the efforts of Indy Eleven and Relevant Sports. Again, it was huge to get the event here, but getting people excited and pulling it off was just awesome. Hopefully the excitement lasts and translates into more excitement and buzz for Indy Eleven. Man, I can’t wait to spend Spring and Summer nights watching a home town soccer team.