Indy Eleven forward Benji Chavarria - who made his USL Championship debut last season - in action at the 2023 USL Academy League Playoffs this past December. | Photo courtesy Emily Sullivan / United Soccer League
INDIANAPOLIS – Indy Eleven announced on Tuesday the club had added five players to the First Team squad as USL Academy signing for the 2024 USL Championship season, with goalkeepers Cayden Crawford and Hayden Vostal, defender Logan Neidlinger, midfielder Nikola Ivetic and forward Benji Chavarria joining the squad.
As USL Academy signings, all five players will be eligible to train and compete in the USL Championship and Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup this season while retaining their NCAA eligibility. The transactions are pending league and federation approval.
The trio of Crawford, Chavarria and Vostal return to the side as USL Academy signings after being part of the Boys in Blue a season ago. Chavarria made his USL Championship debut last June 2 against the Charleston Battery, while Crawford was part of the side’s gameday roster in 12 games. All three also played crucial roles in the club’s 2023 USL Academy Cup title run, including an undefeated mark at 12-0-2 en route to the USL Academy Playoffs.
Ivetic and Neidlinger join the Boys in Blue as the newest additions, with Ivetic being the youngest as a member of the U17 squad. Neidlinger arrived in Indy in 2021 and previously played for Columbus Express. He is committed to University of Indianapolis this fall. A two-time Man of the Match honoree with the U17s after a pair of goals in his first three games, Ivetic has earned minutes with the U19 squad.
Since 2019, Indy Eleven has signed 22 players to USL Academy contracts, making the club one of the premier player development destinations in the USL Championship. In November, the Boys in Blue signed Academy-product Diego Sanchez to his first professional contract after spending three seasons (2021-23) as a USL Academy signing with the club.