|This article does not cite any sources. (December 2009) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)|
|Full name||Indiana Blast|
|Ground||Kuntz Memorial Stadium|
|League||USL Premier Development League|
|2004||9th, Heartland Division|
Indiana Blast were an American soccer team, founded in 1997. The team was a member of the United Soccer Leagues, played in the USISL and A-League (1995-2004) until folding at the end of the 2004 season.
|Year||Division||League||Reg. Season||Playoffs||Open Cup|
|1997||3||USISL Pro League||2nd, North Central||Quarter Finals||Did not qualify|
|1998||3||USISL Pro League||1st, North Central||Division Finals||Did not qualify|
|1999||2||USL A-League||4th, Central||Did not qualify||Did not qualify|
|2000||2||USL A-League||3rd, Central||Conference Quarterfinals||Did not qualify|
|2001||2||USL A-League||6th, Central||Did not qualify||Did not qualify|
|2002||2||USL A-League||4th, Central||Did not qualify||Did not qualify|
|2003||2||USL A-League||5th, Central||Did not qualify||Did not qualify|
|2004||4||USL PDL||9th, Heartland||Did not qualify||Did not qualify|
- USISL Pro League North Central Division Champions 1998
Officially announced a press conference on September 30, 1996, the Blast signed its first player that November in goalkeeper standout from Yugoslavia and of the MLS Mile Milovac and signed its second star player in Marc LeBere who came over on transfer from the Philadelphia Freedom after scoring 13 goals for Philadelphia, LeBere was a premier striker and expected to lead this new franchise in scoring. The club played its first match at Kuntz Stadium on April 25, 1997, a 2-0 loss to eventual A-League champion Milwaukee Rampage in front of 2,886 fans. The team claimed its first victory on May 9, beating the Cincinnati Riverhawks 4-0.
By August, the team's original owner, businessman Ferid Poturkovic, had sold the club to MorSports, Inc. On the day the sale was announced, the Blast beat the Chicago Stingers 2-0 to clinch a playoff berth with their fifth consecutive victory to end the regular season. Two weeks later, the Blast came from 2-0 down to defeat the Cleveland Caps 3-2 and win a first-round playoff game. The Blast would then defeat Chicago 1-0 on August 22 to make it to the D3 Pro League quarterfinals, where they fell 6-0 to the Charlotte Eagles.
The 1998 season was the best in the club's history, as the Blast went 15-3 in league play (17-4 overall) and won the North Central Division's regular-season championship. The Chicago Stingers would exact their revenge for 1997's playoff defeat, though, as they would beat the Blast 3-0 on August 21, 1998 in a first-round playoff match. The year would end with the Blast winning "Organization of the Year" honors from the USISL and earning promotion to the A-League.
In its first A-League game, the Blast won away to Tennessee Rhythm 3-1, but would finish a mere point out of the playoff race with a 13-15 record, having lost the final postseason spot to the El Paso Patriots by virtue of a tiebreaker.
Though the Blast struggled to a 9-15-4 record in 2000, they qualified for the playoffs and absorbed a 7-0 pounding at the hands of the Minnesota Thunder in the first round. The club would never qualify for postseason play again.
Original coach Jimmy McDonald stepped down after the 2000 season and was replaced by Bret Hall, who had coached the Chicago Stingers and Sockers to three consecutive championships. For health reasons, Hall was forced to relinquish his duties before ever coaching a game and he was replaced by assistant Ian Martin, the former head coach at Butler University in Indianapolis. Martin's only season at the helm resulted in an 8-18-0 record in 2001.
Former French professional and Mauritanian international Eric Descombes took over as player-coach for the 2002 season, which saw the team go 6-18-4, including a stretch of 16 games over two months in which it won just one match. A highlight was a 2-2 draw against Rochester Raging Rhinos in a nationally-televised game on August 17 that drew a then-club-record 4,557 fans (a figure that would be topped on July 13, 2003 when 5,140 saw a 3-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Riverhounds).
McDonald returned to the sidelines for the 2003 season, but it would be the worst in the club's history, as they continued losing and controversy dogged the Blast from the season's start. McDonald resigned for the final time after a horrendous start and was replaced by assistant Mike Sanich. Before the 3-23-2 season was over, player Peter Baah had taken the reins. It would be the Blast's last season in the A-League.
A move to the Premier Development League for the 2004 season infused the club with young talent, but the results weren't much better as the Blast finished 5-12-1 under coach John Dolinsky (who was first replaced by player Mark Allen and then by Baah before the season's end). The team's final match ever was a 3-2 loss to the Kalamazoo Kingdom at home on July 17, 2004. The final victory in club history came the night before, a 7-3 home decision over the Kansas City Brass.
In its history, the Blast established quite a rivalry with the Cincinnati Riverhawks, as the teams met 25 times. Indiana won 12, Cincinnati 11 and there were 2 draws in the series. At the other end of the spectrum, Indiana went just 2-15-1 in 18 matches against the Minnesota Thunder. In eight seasons, the club won 67, lost 114 and tied 11 in league play.
Notable former players
- Mark Allen
- Peter Baah
- Matt Blackbourne
- Jamar Beasley
- Eric Descombes
- Jeffrey Dresser
- John Michael Hayden
- Aleksey Korol
- Marc LeBere
- Chris Lemons
- Amarildo Oliveira
- Jon Pickup
- Nick Pasquarello
- Mark Phillips
- Matt Reiswerg
- Godfrey Tenoff
- Steve Weiger
- Jimmy McDonald 1994-2000, 2003
- Bret Hall 2001
- Ian Martin 2001
- Eric Descombes 2002
- Mike Sanich 2003
- Peter Baah 2003, 2004
- John Dolinsky 2004
- Mark Allen 2004