Westfield Select, of Westfield, Indiana is set to make its debut in the National Premier Soccer League next weekend, May 16 in Lansing. They are just one of the many expansion clubs within the NPSL, and are set to be part of the Great Lakes West Conference, along with fellow NPSL first-timers Lansing United and the newly re-branded Michigan Stars. But aside from the announcement of the team's inclusion into the NPSL early this year, very little else was heard from the club. More information was released this week, and most of it concerned a potential partnership with the Chicago Fire.
Westfield Youth Soccer Association announced this week that have entered into an affiliation with the Chicago Fire to become the Indiana Fire Juniors, effective immediately. As a part of this affiliation, the Westfield Select NPSL team - which never played a game under that name - will change its name to the Indiana Fire, while keeping all other arrangements intact. In other words, the team will still play in the NPSL Great Lakes West Division, a division most notable for its defending champions, Detroit City FC.
This new affiliation continues the expansion of the Fire's youth soccer footprint across the Midwest and United States. Fire Juniors currently have numerous youth soccer development programs within the Chicagoland area, as well as in northwest Indiana, Michigan, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Kentucky.
This Indiana Fire Juniors program - which also includes the former Carmel United Soccer Club, also party to this agreement - will tap into the Central Indiana youth soccer landscape, namely the Indianapolis area, which is just 20 miles from Westfield. With the growing success of Indy Eleven in the NASL, the new Indiana Fire Juniors will be sure to help the Indianapolis area soccer scene flourish, and could prove to be an asset to both the Fire and Indy Eleven.
It was initially speculated that Indy Eleven would field a reserve teams that would play in the NPSL starting in the 2014 season. However, those speculations were put to rest shortly after the announcement of the new teams entering NPSL was made, and the Indy Eleven reserves were left off of the list.