I Took My Talents to Mass Ave United… What the Hell Was I Thinking?!

Indianapolis resident Chris Hartley has been an Indy City Futboller since the beginning, in 2014. As a resident of Herron Morton-adjacent neighborhood Kennedy King, he played for Sporting Herron Morton - enjoying a League championship along the way - for 3 seasons.

Until this year.

He announced his change in teams with huge fanfare in April on a one hour program presented exclusively on Indianapolis TV station WTHR.  Deadspin.com called it the “Greatest Move in Sports History,” which was impressive considering the site’s unendingly positive reaction to the recipient of the former Greatest Move in Sports History Award: NBA star Lebron James’ and his uncontroversial move to Miami.

Emotions ran high after the announcement. “Don’t even say his name in front of me,” said longtime Sporting Herron Morton player and current manager JT Dials, spitting as if he’d just bit into a bright orange caterpillar casserole, “No [expletive] comment.”

A perennial contender, 2017 was set to be a great year for Mass Ave United.  

Then they lost. And lost again. 4 games into the season, Mass Ave had only won 1 game, and then they lost star striker Brady Pierce, hospitalized after an elbow to the kidney.

While Mass Ave’s loss of Pierce has given Hartley more of the available playing time up front, the League is rumored to be looking into whether the elbow that sidelined Pierce was actually delivered by Hartley.

In the meantime, Sporting Herron Morton is sitting pretty at 4-1.  “We have no idea why Chris left” a long-time SHM player who only commented with the promise of anonymity. “We’re one big family. I mean seriously, there are kids everywhere.” 

Last week, Mass Ave United beat Real West. Hartley was out of town on vacation.  He couldn’t be reached for comment for this article, but was recently heard asking whether next season was more than 9 months away.



Rivalries are at the core of what makes sports so special. It’s what convinces seemingly sane people to lash out irrationally at strangers and berate each other’s mothers in public. These “hatreds” elevate players’ blood pressure and sense of team pride, fueling even more intense battles via Twitter (#wearenotadults).

Let’s take a look at some of the tense relationships within Indy City Futbol:

Everyone loves a good rivalry, but not as much as Bates-Hendricks FC.

Bates-Hendricks vs. ...everybody?

Pretty sure Detroit is tired of us stealing their shit.

Pretty sure Detroit is tired of us stealing their shit.

How do they hate thee? Let us count the ways.

BHFC vs Garfield AC

Some call their rivalry the "Neighborhood Rumble" or “Raymond Street Rumble”, but we’re not sure who actually wins and loses when the “prize” is the “Alley-Trash Trophy”.

From the team captain, Tyler: “This trophy was glued together using Great Stuff expanding foam, duct tape and gorilla glue. It features scrap metal and trash that was dumped in alleys in both Bates-Hendricks and Garfield Park. Whoever wins the game dictates where the trophy goes and whoever retains the trophy has to add something to it...The trophy itself is ugly and somewhat dangerous to hold due to its sharp edges. We estimate it's scrap metal value at around 35 cents.”

Pretty sure that’s a gross overestimation, Tyler.

That flag should be at half-mast for that jumble of trash that was fine being trash and didn’t ask to be a trophy.

That flag should be at half-mast for that jumble of trash that was fine being trash and didn’t ask to be a trophy.

BHFC vs FC Fountain Square

This rivalry is pretty scandalous, we must admit. BHFC poached Fountain Square Brewery as their team sponsor for the second season of ICF. Surprisingly, FC Fountain Square barely notices, or even cares. Well, they might care a little bit. Okay, they definitely care a lot.

The rivalry as told by Jairav, the previous team manager and co-creator of “The Golden Growler”:

“It all started a long long time ago, in a field far away - specifically at the beginning of season 2 of ICF.  That was when the redheaded stepchild called Bates Hendricks was born into the league. Through some dark magic, they managed to acquire the coveted Fountain Square Brewery sponsorship for their team. That's right. The brewery named for our neighborhood (and their location) would be on their jerseys.  As you can imagine, we were not happy with this.  So we beat them by something like 9 goals. I don't think I can overplay this - we beat them so hard their neighborhood actually suffered a spike in crime. One of our players scored a goal 5 seconds after kick off.”

“Nonetheless, it turns out the Bates people aren't all that insufferable, and last year I became good friends with Sam Sluis - their goalkeeper. Sam also happens to be quite talented at woodworking. We decided to codify our rivalry and spite for the sponsor brewery situation by creating a giant oak trophy atop which sits a golden growler. Admittedly Sam did the majority of the work, but I did provide the growler and sanded one piece of wood. So you know.”

"The rules for the Golden Growler are still being developed, but so far it can be contested over anything as long as both teams agree. But it is always on the line when we play each other in Indy City. Over the winter I challenged them to a Golden Growler battle over duckpin bowling. Honestly it was because no one on our team wanted to keep it, and I live in a small apartment.  So I decided to give them a taste of it until the summer when we would effortlessly regain it.  "

"You should have seen their faces when they won. Charity is a great thing. It really makes you feel good inside!”

The humble Jairav can be seen holding the Golden Growler. Nobody noticed as trash trophy wept in a nearby ditch.

The humble Jairav can be seen holding the Golden Growler. Nobody noticed as trash trophy wept in a nearby ditch.

BHFC vs Real Fletcher Place

BHFC had a rocky start to last year’s season with a few losses. They were able to beat Real Fletcher Place, but Fletcher Place’s team captain, Andy, is confident his team will rise again.

“The I-70 Series has a nice ring to it,” Andy said about their rivalry.

(Pictured: The I-70 Killer) Does it, though?

(Pictured: The I-70 Killer)
Does it, though?

BHFC vs Atletico Cottage Home

BHFC might not know that this rivalry even exists...sorry, Cottage Home. Maybe make a trash trophy?

Atletico Cottage Home vs Mass Ave United

What was once a battle of David and Goliath proportions, Mass Ave United has something to prove after multiple loses to Cottage Home.

Midtown FC vs Broad Ripple City

Two teams that you shouldn’t sleep on, Midtown FC and Broad Ripple City are looking forward to “The Canal Derby”. Midtown’s team captain, Mark, had some fighting words for BRC: “This town ain't big enough for two Broad Ripple teams, so Broad Ripple City is going to need to go for a swim.”

Sage advice from Towelie

Sage advice from Towelie

Bubbling Feud:

Sporting Herron Morton vs FC Fountain Square

Last season, Sporting Herron Morton was able to emerge victorious against Fountain Square on a thrilling last minute goal. Fountain Square dealt with their heartbreak by rooting against Herron Morton in the final, stoking the flames of this burgeoning rivalry.

Herron Morton rose from the flames to win the final, leaving Fountain Square in the dust.

Alas, we’re all just dust in the wind

Alas, we’re all just dust in the wind

Old Speedway City vs... nobody

From the team captain, Jian:

“Unfortunately, I am not aware of any rivalries for Old Speedway. I actually don't even live in the neighborhood. I think they asked me to be captain out of pure necessity. We have more transplants than the average team, which makes cultivating a rivalry a bit difficult. Maybe this year something will come up.”

Actual photo taken of Bates-Hendrick FC’s team captain when he heard his team could have another rivalry.

Actual photo taken of Bates-Hendrick FC’s team captain when he heard his team could have another rivalry.