An impressive record crowd of 41,983 fans poured into Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis on Thursday night for the Guinness International Champions Cupmatch between Chelsea and Inter Milan.
The attendance for the game staged by Indy Eleven Professional Soccer and Relevent Sports even eclipsed the 41,837 capacity of Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge home. Indy Eleven are still a year away from making their North American Soccer League debut but are already making headlines when it comes to driving attendances at soccer games.
Between greeting fans at Georgia Street and conducting multiple interviews, including one with former U.S. men’s national team attacker John Harkes, Indy Eleven Head Coach Juergen Sommer was a busy man before the game.
As the match kicked off after months of breathless anticipation, Sommer spoke to local reporters about a wide swath of issues.
“This is obviously a very special time for folks that are from the state and the city of Indianapolis to have such high quality teams here playing at Lucas Oil Stadium,” said Sommer. “It’s a lot of fun.
“We get a lot of interest and a lot of enthusiasm toward Indy Eleven as to what we’re doing, whether it’s tryouts or season tickets or merchandise or scheduling for next year. We get a lot of questions, especially concerning the schedule. But I think there will definitely be a great trickle down effect for us in terms of support and just overall in the soccer community.
“The sky really is the limit for us, and we’re very fortunate with the ownership group that we have. We’re committed to what we’re trying to do; great partners in the city of Indianapolis and all the infrastructure that’s already here for us to benefit from.”
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