Women’s football | From Amish heartland, FC Indiana builds ‘multicultural vision’

Veronica Phewa (RSA)


Durban Ladies



Maria Ruiz (ESP)


FC Indiana



“They don’t come for the entertainment or anything,” says Maksimov. “They want to come to play soccer.” Maksimov feels that the internationals bring a different soccer mentality:

The American girls enjoy playing for fun. Other places in the world, the culture is different. They live soccer, they watch soccer, read about it, it’s everywhere. Here it’s not that way. They [American players] do their own thing—watch American Idol or things like that. They don’t have that soccer culture.

The club’s extensive global scouting network is the envy of other organizations. Borkowski and Maksimov scouted the 2006 U-20 World Championships in Russia and have developed links with clubs in Russia, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Jamaica, Mexico and Nigeria. Borkowski says, “It is crucial that we keep identifying top young players to come to FC Indiana and not just from overseas. There are many people at FC Indiana who work with these young women, identifying them and bringing them to the club. I’m very proud of our youth identification at the moment.”

Ambitions within the club’s top tier are lofty enough that, before the 2007 season, FC Indiana held talks with Marta Vieira da Silva of Umeå IK through her agent, Fabiano Farah. “She decided to stay in Sweden,” Borkowski wrote by e-mail in Dec 06.

Borkowski places a priority on players with ambition and who are committed to improving their game. “We can only help someone who wants to achieve something. All we can do is give them a method to help them achieve that. That’s the real part of coaching. We try to be very selective when looking for players and afterward make the players conscious of what we want to achieve. … Long-term success comes from continuity of coaching, tactical approach, stability and shared vision.”

FC Indiana’s undefeated run against touring national teams from Australia, New Zealand and Trinidad and Tobago and U-20 sides from Canada and Mexico also has attracted attention from top-class players.

In 2007, the team brought back Australia native and University of Nevada–Reno graduate Aivi Luik, Leyva and Shaner to play with new imports Monica Ocampo of Mexico, Elisabetta Tona of Italy, Maria Ruiz of Spain and Elena Danilova and Elena Terekhova of Russia’s U-20 team. Along with a late signing at goalkeeper—U.S. international Kristin Luckenbill, who won a WUSA title in 2002 with Carolina Courage and an Olympic gold medal in 2004—the Lionesses captured their second WPSL crown, 3–0, over New England Mutiny. A few weeks later they again reached the U.S. Open Cup final but lost to California-based Ajax America, 1–2.

In 2002, Elkhart County officials dedicated a nearly half-mile-long gravel road so horse-drawn buggies could access the Goshen Wal-Mart without contending with motorway traffic (John W. Fountain, “Amish Find Gentler Road along Busy Highway,” New York Times, 22 Nov 02).

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