Change is never an easy thing for anyone to grip. Whether it be change on the small end, like your favorite item on the menu at a local restaurant, or something larger like moving to a new town. Change isn’t an unfamiliar thing in sports, either. Hirings, firings, signings and releases are all common in every sport and every league around the world.
That familiar air of change swept through Indianapolis this week, as fans saw another step in the growth of Indy Eleven when it released two members of their technical staff. Paul Telfer, one of the first additions to the coaching staff last year, as well as the first head coach for Indy Eleven, Juergen Sommer.
Indy Eleven is suffering from growing pains
To say Indy has under-performed to this point in the season would be a drastic understatement. While the soccer media would say that Indy Eleven’s chances of success were low to begin with, there were expectations within the club for how competitive they would be in the first half of the 2015 NASL season.
The shock of Indy Eleven removing Juergen Sommer was less about the action, and more about the timing. “While decisions like this are never easy for the individuals or the club involved, I felt changes were needed immediately to impact the direction of the team on the field,” President/General Manager Peter Wilt stated this week. Fans have desired this action since the Minnesota United game at home which saw the Eleven drop 3 points as a result of a 1-3 loss against the visiting Minnesota United Loons.
Later in the evening of his release, Juergen Sommer was set to not go gentle into that good night. In a column written by Bob Kravitz for WTHR-13, the NBC affiliate in Indianapolis, Sommer held little back. “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.”
Is it enough?
The move to drop Sommer was needed in order to revive the energy that has escaped from the team. The losing streak and lack of energy shown by the offense has kept the club from playing exciting and expressive soccer.
The question now should be whether or not the release of Sommer is enough to get Indy back on the right path. “The challenge with the team remains the same – to improve our performances and get results in a talent-filled NASL. (Jose) Kleberson and I will do the best we can to bring more success for the club and its tremendous fan base.” interim Head Coach Tim Regan said after the announcement. Kleberson, who’s been out injured most of this season, will serve as interim assistant head coach while still holding the team’s largest player contract.
But can you replace the instructions but get a different result? The question will soon be whether Tim Regan retains the job, whom Peter Wilt said is “the top candidate on our list.” Whether Regan stays the head coach and Kleberson stays in his role, Indy Eleven can’t change the paint and expect much of a different result. The club will need to go after goal scorers and completely rework the tactical side.
The expectations set for Regan don’t seem to be anything worth rushing. Even in the press conference, Regan said he hopes people see the change in the team with a win Saturday. Whatever the case may be, there are still a few pieces missing from Indy Eleven and whether they are pieces from within the team or more pieces yet to arrive Tim Regan is just the first of a few more moves that are needed to get Indy back on track.
You can see Regan’s debut as interim head coach when Indy Eleven play the Ft. Lauderdale Strikers Saturday at 7:30 PM on ESPN 3.