Monday, May 4, 2015

Nicht and being #IndyForever

This past week, Kristian Nicht found himself packing his bags so that he could join the Major League Soccer's Montreal Impact as they found themselves in a precarious position of not having a goalkeeper on roster that they felt comfortable starting for their second leg of the CONCACAF Champions League final.  Some of that was because of CONCACAF rules, while some of that was because their normal starter received a yellow in the waning minutes of the first leg of the final while already sitting on a yellow and was therefore unable to play.  Kristian's time with the team during the Eleven's preseason (for bench support for the Impact during their CONCACAF run) made him a logical alternative for the Impact as they headed into the final leg.  He might not have been their first choice, but he was a good choice.  His familiarity with the team and his recent form in the nets for the Eleven made it a well deserved call-up for Kristian.  The Eleven have indicated that they want to be a player-friendly organization and will work with the players when opportunities like this present themselves.  To their credit, they made good on that claim.  Though I'm sure that the transfer of Nicht to the Impact had its advantages to the Eleven or it would have never happened.  To his credit, Nicht performed better than the 4 goals against would imply.  

The opportunity is well deserved for Nicht and the announcement was met by Eleven fans with a mixture of happiness, pride, and concern for our own goalkeeping options.  Given that we have never seen Dawson or Cardona (or Sprenkel last season) play a single minute in an Eleven uniform in a match that counted, there's the unknown of how they'll perform.  Nicht is the only player in the entirety of the NASL that played every minute of every game in the 2014 season.  I think we're allowed a little concern when the very first player we ever knew as an Eleven, who was so vital to the team's play and marketing, is rewarded for his efforts and leaves us.

As I watched the love for Nicht from Eleven fans leading up his start for an MLS team in the CONCACAF final, it made me wonder about the other players on the Eleven who have come and gone through Carroll stadium for our favorite local team.  While Nicht is the first Eleven signing and Cardona is the most recent signing, there have been 35 other signings in between.The current roster includes 20 players so that means there have been 17 players who we've supported and have moved onto other endeavors.  Some of those players saw minutes, some saw starts, and some never saw a single minute of action in the red and blue.  To me, that doesn't make them any less #IndyForever.  I've been able to keep track of some of them after they've left Indy, but there are others who haven't found other teams or who have gone onto non-playing days.  While I know it doesn't happen very often with other professional teams, I would like to see the Eleven maintain a place on their website devoted to the players that have been part of the team.  At a minimum, it would just be maintaining their team bio in a different location in their website folder structure.  The team latched onto the Brickyard Battalion's tifo from last season and I think if Nicht is #IndyForever, then Baba Omosegbon can be as well.  Though maybe I'm just feeling a bit nostalgic during a bye week. 

So while we're all celebrating Nicht's reward for his hard work, I thought I would give some of the other players some #IndyForever love (in order of signing).
  1. Kristian Nicht - Montreal Impact
  2. Baba Omosegbon - I can't determine current status
  3. Nathan Sprenkel - Still listed as DePauw assistant coach, but can't tell beyond that
  4. Pedro Mendes - Played for Minnesota United after the trade, but can't tell where he is at this year.  Doesn't look like he is in the NASL.
  5. Chris Wey - I can't determine status
  6. Mike Ambersley - Playing for St. Louis FC in the USL
  7. Walter Ramirez - Playing for Fort Lauderdale Strikers
  8. Chris Estridge - Playing for Charlotte Independence in the USL
  9. Andrew Stone - I can't determine status
  10. Corby Moore - Playing for Forest Green in England
  11. Ben Spencer - On loan to Toronto FC II
  12. A.J. Corrado - Taking advantage of IU's degree guarantee program
  13. Fejiero Okiomah - Playing for Pittsburgh Riverhounds in the USL
  14. Blake Smith - Hanging out with Kristin with the Montreal Impact
  15. Kevin Rozo - I can't determine status
  16. Jermaine Johnson - I can't determine status
  17. Jhulliam - Playing for Resende in Brazil
Good luck guys wherever you go.  At least to me, you'll always be part of #IndyForever.


Jeff C. said...

Thanks for doing this. The other day, I was looking at a post elsewhere from early March 2014 listing the 14 players then on the roster, and I noted that only five (dawson, Norales, Hyland, Smart, Ring) were still on the team. I knew what had happened to some of the departed (Nicht, Estridge, Ambersley), but wondered about the others (Sprinkle, Wey, Omosegbon, Stone, Ramirez, Mendees).

Chris Wey is the teacher who left his job to join Indy Eleven; I hope he was able to get his job back. His signed card was the season ticket holder gift I received last year. I keep it on my desk at work; to me he'll always be #indyforever, even though he never saw a minute on the field.

Of course, your timing is interesting, with Montreal waiving Nicht shortly after you posted.

Drew said...

I kept looking and I think I found some information that leads me to believe that Chris Wey is back teaching. It looked to be a current Staff Directory of a school here in town. I'm glad he chased the dream and made the roster even if he didn't see the field. He'll never have to wonder about "what if?"

The Nicht transfer and subsequent release is a strange situation...

Jeff C. said...

Thanks for the update, Drew. Glad to learn that Chris Wey is back in teaching.

I'm mildly surprised that Nicht hasn't been re-signed. Surely he's cleared waivers by now. It would be a shame if, after all this, he wound up out of work.

Drew said...

I'm surprised too. I've seen others question whether the Unions' injury bug could get Nicht a look there. Maybe they're evaluating him.

There's a business side to the team, but it would still be unjust if a guy who looked to be the Eleven's starting goalie until he was injured, retired, or found another team found himself unemployed so quickly. I'm sure there is something with the MLS single entity arrangement that could slow the process.