Thursday, March 1, 2018

Eleven Degrees of Separation: Carlyle Mitchell, From Joe Public to Indy Eleven's First League Goal

Joe Public FC at Mapfre in 2010. Carlyle Mitchell Back row right #19 (photo Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

By: James Cormack

I am sure you have all heard of the "Six Degrees of Separation" where the theory is any two people or things can be connected through other people or incidents. It's one of my favorite things to do especially with players in US Soccer where contracts are often short and the soccer landscape can change regularly, is to find connections between various players and Indy Eleven.

It's one of those things when you start you can for sure get lost down a rabbit hole and find literally hundreds of connections, some are uninteresting, some are funny and occasionally you get some mind blowing wow moments. With me it usually starts by looking at a players club history and finding an interesting starting point in their career or an unusual club name... and then I start clicking until my mouse batteries need replacing.

You can find these connections in football all over the world of course, a good example would be Daniel Sturridge. How many of you knew he began his playing career at Cadbury Athletic, a team Affiliated to Cadbury's Confectionary and nicknamed "The Chocolate Men"? 

So from there you look at other former players or connections from Cadbury FC and follow a paper trail that can lead you to anything from Carlyle Mitchell playing against Lionel Messi in an international friendly or even former Indy Eleven assistant coach Paul Telfer. I won't go into how I arrived at those but needless to say its a lot of fun and at times fascinating, and maybe a little bit nerdy.

So welcome to the very first Eleven Degrees Of Separation, 'Eleven' of course in reference to our team name, the number of degrees may vary from less than six to way too many. As always I try to be as accurate as possible in sourcing information but it is a Bloody Shambles after all.

Carlyle Mitchell And Indy Eleven's First League Goal...

Joe Public Crests.
I know what you are already thinking, the obvious connection between Carlyle Mitchell and Indy Eleven is Martin Rennie and the fact he is now part of our roster. Where is the fun in that? 

A quick glance at the playing history of Carlyle brings you to his first professional club Joe Public FC. Now a team name like that is going to attract my attention right away, its fantastic, almost as amazing as their club logo at the time when Mitchell played for the team in Trinidad.

In 2010 Joe Public FC played in the CONCACAF Champions League and were drawn into Group B with Municipal of Guatemala, Santos Laguna of Mexico and Columbus Crew from MLS. A tough group for any team, Joe Public finished the group with one draw against Municipal and five defeats.

Carlyle received a red card in the 5-1 defeat against Santos who finished top of the group and missed the final game against the Crew. Santos moved on to play Cruz Azul in the first playoff round and suffered a 5-1 defeat over two legs. Cruz Azul captain and former Indy Eleven midfielder Gerardo Torrado featured in both matches. 

Cruz Azul in turn were dismissed from the competition by Monterrey who went on to defeat Real Salt Lake in the final round. In the second leg of the final, five minutes before the final whistle another former Indy Eleven player, Paulo Junior came off the bench for RSL.

Kareem Moses was also included in the Joe Public roster who you may be familiar with from his time at FC Edmonton and North Carolina FC, Moses started in place of Mitchell in the final 4-1 defeat against Columbus Crew. Almost the entire Joe Public FC roster for this tournament were from Trinidad and Tobago, except for two players, Yu Hoshide of Japan and Gayson Gregory of Antigua and Barbuda.

Information on Joe Public FC is a little sketchy after this, it appears this was their final year as a club. Carlyle Mitchell moved on to Vancouver Whitecaps where he began his relationship with coach Martin Rennie. Gayson Gregory returned home to play for Antigua Barracuda in the newly announced USL Pro division.

Okay I know I am stretching things a bit here but if the name Antigua Barracuda sounds familiar to you Indy Eleven nerds, it was the club where former Eleven goalkeeper Nathan Sprenkel played before signing with us in 2014. From the limited records I can find Sprenkalenk started one match for Barracuda against Orange County Blues FC (now Orange County SC) in 2012.

Nathan Sprenkel (photo Reid Sprenkel)
That match ended 1-0 to Orange County and also saw an appearance from Indy Eleven defender and former OCB player Cory Miller. Matt Fondy who people may remember from Louisville City, Jacksonville Armada and North Carolina was an unused sub for Orange County. The only goal in that match that got past Nathan Sprenkel was scored by Orange County forward Maxwell Griffin.

Sprenkel as we know moved on to Indy Eleven (eventually) and in 2013 Maxwell Griffin was signed by former NASL side Minnesota United. Griffin made 14 total appearances for the Loons that year including 8 starts and scored one goal for the club, against Fort Lauderdale Strikers on August 11th at Lockhart Stadium.

Minnesota won the game by three goals to one, Griffin scored the opening goal after the game had been tied at 0-0 for almost 75 minutes, it finished in a goal flurry. Alongside Griffin in the starting lineup in Florida were Indy Eleven new guy Kevin Venegas and Indy Eleven old boy Siniša Ubiparipović. Ubi however was subbed out in the 82nd minute and replaced by.... wait for it.... MIKE AMBERSLEY!

After the 2013 NASL season Ambersley moved on to sign up for Indy Eleven's inaugural season in 2014 and scored their very first league goal in the home opener against the Carolina Railhawks (North Carolina FC). The match ended 1-1 and the rest, as they say, is history. Carlyle Mitchell is now an Indy Eleven player and brings with him a wealth of experience playing at the very highest levels and hopefully he will help bring success to Indianapolis.

Akira Fitzgerald looks on as Mike Ambersley celebrates (photo Indy Eleven)


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