Indy Eleven Bolsters Defense with Three More Signings
INDIANAPOLIS (Tuesday, February 25, 2014) – Indy Eleven Professional Soccer expanded its roster today with the additions of goalkeeper Jon Dawson and defenders Chris Estridge and Andrew Stone to the North American Soccer League expansion side’s roster. The new trio, which brings the Indy Eleven roster up to 14 players, joined the squad in advance of the club’s eight-day spring training trip in Orlando, which begins today and runs through March 5.
“Chris, Andrew and Jon showed well both on and off the field during our first training camp in Arizona, so we are confident in knowing what they will bring to Indy Eleven,” said Indy Eleven President/General Manager Peter Wilt. “All three players will build upon the competitive environment needed to make Indy Eleven a success this season.”
Jon Dawson – Goalkeeper
Indianapolis native Jon Dawson joins Indy Eleven after completing his collegiate career last fall at Butler University, where he was a three-year starter for the Bulldogs. During his senior season in 2013, the 22-year-old Dawson started 19 of Butler’s 20 games during its first campaign in the BIG EAST Conference and posted a 1.43 goals against average (GAA) en route to a 10-8-1 record. In all, Dawson posted a 1.43 GAA during his 52 appearances (51 starts) between the posts for the Bulldogs.
“I could not be more excited to a part of Indy Eleven. I was raised in Indianapolis and went to college here, so to play in front of my friends and family for my hometown club is a dream come true,” said Dawson. “I learned a lot about being a professional while with the group in Arizona, so now I’m looking forward to applying those lessons during the trip to Florida and throughout the season.”
Dawson also got plenty of experience outside of the Butler Bowl during his summers off by suiting up for a trio of Premier Development League clubs – Northern Virginia Royals (2010), Seacoast United Phantoms (2011) and Jersey Express (2013) – in addition to the Under-23 development squad of Major League Soccer’s D.C. United (2012). Dawson is a graduate of Indianapolis’ Brebeuf Jesuit High School and played club soccer for both Indy Burn and the Carmel United Academy squad that participated in U.S. Soccer’s Development Academy program.
“We had seen Jon play at Butler and he came highly regarded by their coaching staff, and that was enough for us to bring him into one of our fall tryout sessions,” said Indy Eleven Head Coach/Director of Soccer Operations Juergen Sommer. “From there we decided to get a longer look at him on the Arizona trip, where he did quite well in training and the games he was asked to play in. Jon is a great young professional and his work ethic and character make him a great addition to the group.”
Chris Estridge – Defender
Brownsburg native and former Indiana University product Chris Estridge is the most experienced of the new Indy Eleven trio, having spent the last two years in American soccer’s professional ranks. After being drafted by Major League Soccer’s Vancouver Whitecaps FC in the second round of the 2012 MLS SuperDraft (21st overall), Estridge was traded to fellow MLS side Real Salt Lake at the onset of the season, but with playing time hard to come by in Utah he would eventually find games that summer after landing with the USL PRO’s Rochester Rhinos. While knee injuries cost Estridge the entirety of his 2013 season, the Hoosier product is healthy and ready to contribute during Indy Eleven's Inaugural Season.
“I’m extremely excited for this chance to continue my career in front of my family and be a part of something special here in Indianapolis,” said the 24-year-old Estridge. “To join Indy Eleven from the beginning makes it even more rewarding to be a part of, especially with the way the fans and community have already welcomed the team.”
Estridge will be familiar to local soccer fans after his two seasons with Indiana University in 2010-11, during which he started 40 of 42 matches for the Hoosiers. The right back earned First Team All-BIG TEN and NSCAA First Team All-American honors following a senior campaign during which he scored three goals and added five assists while helping IU reach the NCAA Men’s College Cup Round of 16. Prior to his stint in Bloomington, Estridge spent two seasons at Wake Forest University, primarily coming off the bench during his 26 appearances with the Demon Deacons.
“Chris is another local product, another IU graduate, so we’re thrilled to get another quality player with Hoosier ties. With Chris we feel like we’re getting a lot of versatility and a very technical player. He performed well at right back in Arizona, but he can also pinch up into the midfield or play the left back position for us,” said Sommer. “Chris is great addition because he is young but also has some solid professional experience under his belt. He is a player we had been keeping an eye on because of his injury situation, but he showed he was ready to contribute when he hit the field in Arizona.”
Andrew Stone – Defender
Defender Andrew Stone is another recent college graduate, as the towering center back finished his school career off by playing his senior season at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee (UWM), this after spending his first three seasons at his hometown school of the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay (UWGB). After sitting out the 2012 campaign due to NCAA transfer rules, Stone made the wait for his senior season worth it, starting all 19 of his appearances and scoring three times while finishing his career off with First Team All-Horizon League and Second Team All-Great Lakes Region accolades.
“It’s great to be with an expansion team that has a real buzz around its city like Indy Eleven does. It’s something that all of us players get extra motivation out of and admire a great deal,” said the 23-year-old Stone. “I’m grateful to Indy Eleven for this opportunity and excited to get things underway.”
Prior to joining UWM Stone was a three-year starter for UWGB, where he played in 51 games for the Phoenix. Prior to his college days, Stone played with Green Bay Preble H.S. under coach Chris Becker and club soccer for the Green Bay Lighting under coach Aldo Santaga.
“We’ve been in the market for an up-and-coming, athletic center back, and Andrew came highly regarded to us. After the Arizona trip it was clear that he lived up to the hype,” said Sommer. “Off the field Andrew’s a great personality and possesses great character; on the field he brings us a lot of size and balance in the back. We’re very excited to have a young player like Andrew with great professional potential to work with over the next few years.”
About Indy Eleven Professional Soccer
Indy Eleven will kick off its inaugural season in the North American Soccer League (NASL) on April 12, 2014, against the Carolina RailHawks and will play its home contests at Michael A. Carroll Stadium on the campus of IUPUI in downtown Indianapolis. Born Indy Pro Soccer after launching as the 11th member of the North American Soccer League on January 16, 2013, Indy Eleven established its identity 99 days later on the 152nd anniversary of the establishment of the 11th Indiana Regiment during the Civil War on April 25, 1861.
The NASL is the officially-sanctioned Second Division of professional soccer in the United States and Canada. In 2014, expansion newcomers Indy Eleven and Ottawa Fury FC will join Atlanta Silverbacks, Carolina RailHawks, FC Edmonton, Fort Lauderdale Strikers, reigning Soccer Bowl champion New York Cosmos, Minnesota United FC, San Antonio Scorpions FC and Tampa Bay Rowdies, while Virginia Cavalry FC, Jacksonville Armada FC and a franchise in Oklahoma City will join in 2015.