Indy Eleven began its preseason in earnest today at Westfield’s Grand Park with two more midfielders in tow after the signings of Daniel Keller and Craig Henderson. Per club policy, terms of the contracts will not be disclosed.
Keller marks the 13th member from last year’s successful Indy Eleven side to return to the Boys in Blue. The Carmel native logged 531 minutes in nine games (five starts) across NASL regular season and Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup action during his second season with his hometown side in 2016. The versatile 25-year-old also made 15 appearances in NASL action during his rookie season in 2015 across the back line and at his usual defensive midfield position.
“We had such a successful campaign last season and came up just a little bit short, so I’m looking forward to working with this group to get back to the final,” Keller said. “I’m more comfortable heading into this preseason just knowing how everyone plays and knowing Coach [Tim] Hankinson’s style, so it’s exciting to get back to work.”
Henderson is making his return to the United States, where he attended Dartmouth University from 2006-09, including an All-Ivy League performance in 2008. Before heading to the Hoosier State the 29-year-old midfielder had spent his entire professional career in Scandinavia, most recently with Swedish second division (Superettan) squad GAIS in 2016 (19 games). He also crossed paths with ex-U.S. men’s national team coach Bob Bradley while in Norway with first division (Eliteserien) squad Stabaek in 2014. In all, Henderson has bagged nine goals in his 69 first team appearances in Sweden (GAIS and Mjallby AIF) and Norway (Stabaek and Mjondalen IF) since 2012.
Additionally, Henderson represented his native New Zealand at all age groups, including earning two senior caps in 2013 - one coming against Mexico in a World Cup qualifier “playoff” match - and appearances in all three of the Kiwi U-23’s games in the 2008 Beijing Olympics
“It was time to come back to the U.S. and try a new environment, and I’m very glad that Indy Eleven presented itself as an option,” Henderson said. “This is a group of experienced guys that seem to be a real tight-knit unit and enjoyed a lot of success last year, so I’m happy to be part of a squad with some momentum and a lot of good things to look forward to.”