Indy Eleven Gameday: Back at Home

We talk about soccer-specific stadiums here in the U.S. but sometimes you stumble upon a gem that creates a special atmosphere, even without the perfect venue.


If I told you that a stadium built for track and field plays host to one of USL’s best gameday environments, you would probably call me crazy. 

Heck, I would think something was wrong with me too. 

But once you spend 90 minutes in the Brickyard Battalion supporter section at IUPUI’s Michael A. Carroll Stadium, you just might have a change of heart. 

The stadium, or the “Mike,” as locals call it, is the temporary home for Indy Eleven while the USL club finalizes its plans for a soccer-specific stadium in Indianapolis. During the previous three seasons, the club hosted its matches at the indoor NFL venue, Lucas Oil Field. However, after scheduling challenges and a little urging from supporters, the team returned to its original home at the Mike for the 2021 season. 

“We are thrilled to be back at the place where this club’s history began,” shared Katherine Reed, President of the Brickyard Battalion supporters group. “Being indoors just wasn’t the same so now that we’re back at Carroll Stadium, our supporters are excited about what’s to come. This place is home.” 

Among the most notable changes from past years is the smoke. Yes, the smoke. When you visit Carroll Stadium, you’ll see the team selling merchandise and fans wears shirts with the rallying cry “Cue The Smoke” printed all over. Like many soccer fans, the Brickyard Battalion takes their pyro displays seriously. 

It’s just one of the many things that make watching a match with Indy supporters unique. 

The proximity of the supporter section is another. 

While the field sits in the middle of an Olympic-sized track and the main stand is far away from the action, the supporters section at the west end is about as close to the pitch as physically possible. 

For 45 minutes each game, the opposing goalkeeper feels just how close he is to danger as he has to put up with an endless barrage of jeers from the passionate Brickyard Battalion supporters. Referees along the closest sideline aren’t immune from those jeers either.

Creating an Inclusive Environment

Just as committed as the Brickyard Battalion is to being loud, they are equally committed to the community they are building. 

On the day we experienced an Indy Eleven match, the Brickyard Battalion was decked out in black to commemorate Juneteenth, one of the many activities the supporters group is leading in the days leading up to the June 19 holiday. 

“Soccer is more than just a game,” explained Katherine. “We want to use our collective energy for good, whether that’s raising money for important causes in our community or educating fans about important social issues.” 

Those words can be seen in action everywhere you turn. 

During one brief moment at the beginning of the June 15 match, the fans quieted as their capo, Amanda, took to the microphone to make an announcement. “If you hear or witness any form of bigotry or hatred, call it out immediately and report it,” she said. 

The message was clear – the Brickyard Battalion is about inclusivity and will not tolerate anything to the contrary. 

In the wake of numerous hate-filled events in U.S. soccer lately, this short but significant moment spoke volumes about the fan culture being built in Indianapolis

So I know we talk about soccer-specific stadiums here in the U.S. but sometimes you stumble upon a gem that creates a special atmosphere, even without the perfect venue. 

Next time you’re near Indianapolis, be sure to sit in Section 305 with the Brickyard Battalion and find out for yourself why Indy Eleven has a gameday atmosphere and inclusive fan culture that you can’t miss.