For the first time since signing with Indy Eleven, Solomon Asante is in action, training with the team this week ahead of Saturday night’s match against New York Red Bulls II at Carroll Stadium.
The two-time USL Championship Most Valuable Player signed with the Boys in Blue in April after four seasons with Phoenix Rising FC. The midfielder said that the transition to his new club has gone smoothly during his first week in Indianapolis.
“I think it’s the same game, the same soccer, everything is the same,” Asante said after training Thursday. “Good players and the environment is good, I think the weather is perfect. Training is going well, I feel good to be here.”
While Asante is new to Indy, he is a familiar face to at least one member of the squad. A.J. Cochran spent two seasons with Asante in Phoenix in 2019 and 2020, Asante’s MVP seasons.
“We played together for two years in Phoenix, and basically the plan was to get Solo the ball,” Cochran said. “Any time he has the ball, you know he can create something out of nothing, he’s just a very intelligent player.”
The game plan of giving the ball to Asante worked well for both the Ghanaian and his club, as the team reached two USL Championship Finals and the midfielder scored 54 goals during his time in the desert.
While Asante was known by many around the league as a prolific scorer during his time in Phoenix, Cochran was most impressed by his ability as a facilitator when the two played together, something he expects to pay off for the Eleven.
“You see a lot of highlights of his goals, but what impresses me the most about Solo is his one-on-one ability to get a cross off,” Cochran said. “He’s an amazing passer of the ball, he has some incredible assists. If we can get him isolated, my money is always going to be on Solo.”
Head coach Mark Lowry is not only excited about what Asante brings to his squad on the pitch but also the experience and leadership that he exhibits off of it.
“The stats that he’s put up the last three or four years in Phoenix speak for themself,” Lowry said. “But he also brings a steady leadership to the group as well with his experience and his understanding of what it takes to win because he’s obviously won a lot before, at times having to single-handedly do it and drive his team forward.”
As a scorer, passer and leader, Asante has excelled during his time in the USL Championship, totaling 90 goals and assists in four seasons. The wait to return to action is over for Asante, and the two-time MVP is ready to take the pitch as his Indy Eleven debut nears closer.
Saturday’s match will mark Asante’s first time as an available player in the USL Championship since he scored a brace in Phoenix Rising FC’s postseason loss to Rio Grande Valley FC Toros on Nov. 6, 2021.
“I’m eager,” Asante said. “I want to be in the game already. I feel good, I think we have good fans and I can’t wait to be there.”
Asante’s message to supporters ahead of his debut was simple: show up and show out.
“Come out in numbers, as usual,” Asante said. “I believe it is not going to be an easy game, but for sure we are going to give them good soccer, and we are going to win for them.”