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Former IU player getting a chance at next level


Senior Richard Ballard kicks the ball in an attempt to make a goal during Sunday's match against Northwestern at Bill Armstrong Stadium. Rebecca Mehling and Rebecca Mehling Buy Photos

Former IU forward Richard Ballard signed a contract for the 2017 season with United Soccer League side Louisville City FC, the club announced Monday.

Ballard, a Louisville, Kentucky native, attended DuPont Manual High School. In his senior season for the Hoosiers this past fall, Ballard earned second-team All-Big Ten honors for the first time in his career. He started all 21 games for the Hoosiers and registered four goals and two assists.

The former IU forward spent most of his time in the midfield before shifting to striker for his senior season. The terms of Ballard’s contract were not disclosed by Louisville City because they are still under United States Soccer Federation approval. Ballard earned his contract after Louisville City’s invitation tryouts in January.

“Playing at Indiana, we trained at the highest level every day,” Ballard said in a Louisville City FC press release. “I’ve always dreamed we’d have a professional team in Louisville. Now that we do, to be able to play for it means the world to me. I think it’s going to be awesome to get out there and represent my hometown.”

Louisville City FC coach James O’Connor said in the release that Ballard scored in a 2015 preseason exhibition game between IU and Louisville City, and the coach has been aware of him ever since. O’Connor also said Ballard’s versatility is important and it’s great he is a local player and will be able to relate to the community.

Ballard joins former teammate Tanner Thompson as former IU players who will get a chance at the next level in American soccer after Minnesota United drafted Thompson in this year’s MLS SuperDraft.

Josh Eastern

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