1,012 miles to St. Petersburg. 564 miles to Leesburg. 726 to Charleston.
Oh, and those distances are just one way.
Every year, Amanda Wallace takes as much time off work as possible to pack up her Subaru and hit the road for Indy Eleven away matches. For years, she has followed the Indy Eleven women’s and men’s teams to every corner of the country.
In 2022 alone, Amanda traveled more than 12,600 miles for Indy Eleven road matches.
“That feeling of live soccer; that’s what I’m chasing,” explained Amanda. “There’s something so special about supporting our men’s and women’s players on the road.”
Amanda’s vibrant personality and dedication have made her a well-known figure within the Indy Eleven community and the Brickyard Battalion supporters group. In many ways, it’s harder to imagine Indianapolis soccer without Amanda. But she wasn’t always driving thousands of miles for away days and leading songs atop the capo stand at home matches.
“I wasn’t around for the beginning,” explained Amanda. “I was a season ticket holder for the first season of Indy Eleven in 2014, but I wasn’t active with the Brickyard Battalion supporters.”
At the time, Amanda had just moved to Indianapolis and she would catch a game here and there. But she missed more than she attended and the following season she opted against buying a season ticket package. It just wasn’t feasible, as she worked shift hours in food service and lived in the northern suburbs.
That is until a trip to Europe changed everything.
In 2016, Amanda and her wife traveled to Germany to tour the country and visit friends. Just hours after landing, the couple hopped in a car with their friend and their friend’s father, not really knowing where they were going. After a long drive down the Autobahn, they pulled up to a massive stadium tucked in the woods and were told that they had tickets to that day’s Eintracht Frankfurt match.
Recalled Amanda, “I still remember everything from that day. It was a derby match against a local rival, we were in the top row of the stadium, and it was freezing cold because we weren’t dressed appropriately.”
“But the atmosphere was unreal. I could not get enough of that moment.”
The experience was nothing short of transformative. From that moment, Amanda knew she had found something special.
After arriving back in the U.S., she immediately dove into Indy Eleven. She shadowed some of the tenured members of the Brickyard Battalion, including Peter Evans and Josh Mariano, to learn more about the supporter culture and even found herself coaching a soccer club in town after one of the youth leagues needed extra support.
“Things quickly snowballed,” joked Amanda. “And it has turned out to be one of the most rewarding things of my life.”
Coaching in a grassroots league and supporting Indy Eleven has given Amanda the opportunity to give back to the sport she adores and foster community in Indianapolis.
During home matches, you can find her setting up flags in the supporters’ section and leading the songs atop the capo stand. She also takes time to walk through the bleachers at Carroll Stadium to welcome folks who may be new to the supporter club. Ask anyone who has been around the Brickyard Battalion, and they’ll tell you the same thing – Amanda’s energy is infectious.
For Amanda, soccer is a sense of community and she has found her community in Indianapolis. The Brickyard Battalion has become her extended family. And they are a big reason why she spends so much of her free time logging long hours in the car to catch a match.
Every year, when the schedules come out, Amanda plots out the away matches she wants to see. Sometimes she pencils in big rivalry games, other times she targets new clubs and new cities she has yet to see. Then as the matchdays approach, Amanda will pack up her car, usually accompanied by fellow supporter Nathan Thompson, or another Brickyard Battalion member, and set off for the next adventure.
Despite her fear of flying, she embraces road trips as an opportunity to experience new cities, meet other supporters, and build connections. While the mileage and time commitment can be demanding, Amanda’s love for the team and the camaraderie among fans make it all worth it.
Win or lose, it’s all part of a lifelong journey filled with ups and downs, friendships, and a sense of community.