The soccer landscape in the United States has a rather unique and trivial process when a club is zoning in on a select group of candidates to lead their on-field operations. Bizarre, cynical, or uncertainty are just some of the many reactions fans and the media have when a club declares a winner. Unlike the previous head coaches for Indy Eleven that made you wonder and hold off commenting on how the season would go, this selection is different. It’s different because there’s depth.
This week, Indy announced Martin Rennie as head coach prior to them embarking on their first journey in the USL. Like his predecessor, Rennie has done some traveling in his coaching career. He was born and raised in Scotland and has coached in the United States, Canada, and South Korea. But it’s deeper than that. He has a background outside of soccer; salesman for a software company. In soccer he holds a UEFA Pro License, started two clubs in the USL and in South Korea, and put two cellar dweller teams in the form of Carolina Railhawks and Vancouver Whitecaps in the playoffs.
But there’s depth. Even beyond these accomplishments.
Now I’m not clamming to know Rennie or trying to make light of the situation with the current and former players of Indy Eleven that have been released this week. But where I see depth is having the understanding that being a coach is a process. Sometimes a coach must learn how to be humble before being awarded a promotion. Too many times we see elite players who only want to coach other elite players after retirement. Elite coaches who only want to coach elite teams. You thought managing Barcelona or Manchester City was a daunting and difficult task, try coaching U12 girls. Rennie did it. He’s coached at the youth, PDL, USL, and MLS level. Rennie understands every level of soccer, the challenges they bring, how to use that experience at the next level, and how to build a foundation. But the thing that stands out the most with Rennie is, his foundation has sustained success beyond year one. No “flash and the pan” or “one hit wonder” here. Just sustained success.
Indy Eleven is a unique division two team in which it has the fan support, the training facility, and a strong front office. The Eleven got a taste of success but they need a manager who understands how to grow the on-field success and sustain it for several years. They need depth. Rennie is exactly what Indy Eleven needs.
PHOTO CREDIT: ANDY MEAD / YCJ