Great news for Indy Eleven fans as the Indiana University product, original team member, and fan favorite Brad Ring remains with the team as the club exercised the contract option on the midfielder. He is now one of nine players confirmed to return from last year’s team for the 2016 season.
Ring appeared in 21 games, 16 starts, for the club in 2015 while playing a primarily defensive midfield position. The Rockford, Ill., native is now one of three remaining original members from Indy Eleven’s opening day squad in 2014 alongside fellow midfielders Dylan Mares and Don Smart.
"I couldn't be happier to remain with Indy Eleven. Although it's difficult to part ways with several close friends and teammates from last year’s squad, we have a solid core of returning players to build around. We have improved each year so far and I'm positive that trend will continue in 2016. I can't wait to get back on the field this spring to again play in front of our amazing supporters."
Newly appointed head coach Tim Hankinson had the following to say about Ring's return:
"T]he return of a player with Brad's experience both with the club and in the American game puts a strong building block back into an Indy Eleven jersey,… I look forward to our work and victories together."
This sentiment was echoed by Indy Eleven President/General Manager Peter Wilt.
"The club is excited to bring back a great player and even better person in Brad Ring. Brad’s hard-nosed style has won him the respect of his teammates and fans alike, and that will be an important component to the re-building of our roster for next season."
For Indy Eleven fans, a signing like this is an indicator of their club’s continued growth, stability, and professionalism. The past history of lower division soccer teams completely revamping each season seems to be on the decline, and as a result fans should look forward to seeing an improved level of soccer. Continuity from year to year brings dividends for everyone involved via quality on the field, fan experience via interaction with club members, and hopefully (fingers crossed) via a shiny new stadium to showcase Indy’s "Boys in Blue."
Good luck in 2016 Brad Ring and the Indy Eleven!