New Indy Eleven signing Emmanuel Ledesma won the 2018 USL Championship Most Valuable Player award with FC Cincinnati and remained with the club for its first season in Major League Soccer the following year. | Photo courtesy Em-Dash Photography / Louisvil
INDIANAPOLIS – Indy Eleven announced on Wednesday it has signed attacking midfielder Emmanual Ledesma for the remainder of the 2021 USL Championship season, pending league and federation approval. The 2018 USL Championship Most Valuable Player for FC Cincinnati, Ledesma will look to boost the Boys in Blue as they fight for a place in the 2021 USL Championship Playoffs over the final stretch of the regular season.
The 33-year-old is currently completing the paperwork process for entry into the United States and is expected to join Indiana’s Team as early as next week. The native of Quilmes, Argentina, brings a wealth of experience to Indy from 13 seasons across Europe and the Americas, during which he tallied 61 goals and 50 assists in 277 professional league and cup matches.
“To receive a player the quality of Emanuel Ledesma at this point in our season signifies we still have every expectation to not only reach, but to succeed in the USL Championship Playoffs,” said Indy Eleven Interim Head Coach Max Rogers. “Emanuel has proven that he can be a special performer in this league, and we look forward to his contributions in the coming weeks as we aim to reward our fans with a postseason berth.”
After rising through the youth ranks at Serie A side Genoa, Ledesma spent most of his first three seasons in Italy (Salernitana, Novara Calcio & Cortone); however, he made his professional first team debut in 2008 while on loan to English Championship side Queens Park Rangers. After two stints with Walsall in England’s League One and a brief return home to Argentina to his boyhood club of Defensa y Justicia, Ledesma returned to the English second flight for five seasons in the Championship from 2010-16 with Middlesborough, Rotherham United (twice), Brighton Hove & Albion, and Brentford.
A short stint with Greek Super Club side Panetolikos preceded Ledesma’s first trek to the United States to join the New York Cosmos in 2017, when he bagged 10 goals in 21 contests playing alongside his new Eleven teammate and captain Ayoze. Ledesma dazzled with FC Cincinnati during his USL Championship MVP campaign in 2018, scoring 16 goals to go along with a then-league record 16 assists in helping FCC to 77 points and the best record in the regular season. After he stayed with Cincinnati for its inaugural season in Major League Soccer in 2019, Ledesma spent the last two years in the Finnish First Division (Veikkausliiga) with SJK (Seinäjoen Jalkapallokerho).