Nashville SC

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Nashville SC
Nashville SC MLS 2020.svg
Full nameNashville Soccer Club
FoundedDecember 20, 2017; 3 years ago (2017-12-20)
StadiumNissan Stadium[1][2]
Nashville, Tennessee
OwnerJohn Ingram
Zygi Wilf
Mark Wilf
Leonard Wilf
Turner family[3][4]
CEOIan Ayre
Head coachGary Smith
LeagueMajor League Soccer
2020Eastern Conference: 7th
Overall: 14th
Playoffs: Conference Semifinals
WebsiteClub website
Current season

Nashville Soccer Club is a Major League Soccer team based in Nashville, Tennessee. The team began play in the league in 2020 as a continuation of the USL club of the same name and plays its home matches at Nissan Stadium, with intention to move to a 30,000-seat stadium at the Nashville Fairgrounds to be constructed in the near future. It is principally owned by John Ingram, owner of Ingram Industries, along with investors and partial owners the Turner family of Dollar General Stores and the Wilf family.


Soccer in Nashville[edit]

Prior to the arrival of Nashville's MLS team, the city had various soccer teams which played in the lower divisions of American soccer. The most notable teams were the Nashville Metros who played from 1989 until 2012 and Nashville FC, who played in the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) from 2013 to 2016. The city also hosts two NCAA Division I men's soccer teams, the Belmont Bruins and Lipscomb Bisons. The Vanderbilt Commodores also played Division I men's soccer until the team's demise after the 2005 season. Prior to these teams, the Nashville Diamonds participated in the then-second division American Soccer League for one season in 1982.[5]

The NPSL team, Nashville FC, was founded by a supporters group that intended to form a team as a fan-owned group. Chris Jones, Nashville FC's president, cited existing fan-owned clubs as inspiration for NFC's foundation, in particular the English club F.C. United of Manchester.[6] In February 2014, the two groups merged to form a single club for the 2014 NPSL season. The club had two teams participating in the Middle Tennessee Soccer Alliance, Nashville's largest competitive adult league, and had partnered with the Tennessee State Soccer Association (TSSA), an organization with over 20,000 registered players in the Middle Tennessee area alone.[7] The team played its matches at Vanderbilt Stadium.[8] The NPSL club had ambitions of climbing the American Soccer Pyramid, with the reported target an entry into the then third-tier United Soccer League (USL; now known as the USL Championship) by 2017,[9] and then ascension into the Division II North American Soccer League by 2020.[6] However, in 2016, the USL awarded a franchise to a separate ownership group in Nashville. Nashville FC subsequently sold its team name, logo, and color scheme to the new USL franchise, which became known as Nashville SC, in exchange for a 1 percent equity stake in the USL team and a voting seat on its board.[10]

Expansion bid[edit]

In August 2016, a group of Nashville business leaders from several of the city's largest corporations formed the Nashville MLS Organizing Committee and began efforts to secure funding for an MLS stadium.[11] The group, led by Bill Hagerty, sought an MLS team immediately rather than working up the soccer pyramid. The group fully supported the recently awarded USL expansion team, Nashville SC, which began play in 2018. Both groups supported each other in their common vision to grow the sport in Tennessee.[12] In October 2017, the group unveiled their plans for $275 million stadium and redevelopment project,[13][14] which was approved by the city in November.[15]

The formal bid to add an MLS franchise to Nashville began in January 2017. On March 4, 2017, businessman John Ingram, under the entity Nashville Holdings LLC, bought a majority stake in DMD Soccer, the ownership group of Nashville SC.[16] Ingram also headed up the bid to bring an MLS franchise to Nashville,[17] and the partnership between Ingram and Nashville SC was an effort to present a united front to MLS after Nashville was named one of ten finalist cities for four MLS franchises.[18] In August 2017, Mark Wilf, Zygi Wilf and Leonard Wilf joined as investors; the Wilfs, owners of the NFL's Minnesota Vikings, had previously backed an aborted MLS expansion bid in Minneapolis.[19]

On December 19, 2017, news broke that Nashville would be awarded an expansion slot.[20] The announcement was made official on December 20, 2017, when it was confirmed that the club would join MLS in 2020.[21]

On May 21, 2018, Ian Ayre was announced as the CEO of the franchise.[22]

On October 30, 2018, Mike Jacobs was announced as the general manager of the franchise.[23]

On February 20, 2019, the franchise operators announced that the MLS side would assume the Nashville Soccer Club name then in use by the city's USL Championship side.[24][3]

Inaugural season[edit]

Nashville SC's inaugural MLS match was February 29, 2020, with the club hosting Atlanta United FC at Nissan Stadium.[25] The game was played in front of 59,069, becoming the highest attended soccer event in Tennessee.[26] Walker Zimmerman scored the team's first goal in the 2–1 loss.[27] The inaugural season came to a halt on March 12, 2020 after only two games when the MLS suspended the season for thirty days due to the COVID-19 pandemic,[28] then extended to until May 10, 2020. On June 10, MLS announced MLS is Back Tournament, but were unable to participate in the tournament due to multiple COVID cases on the team. Their next game was an August 12 win against FC Dallas, the first in franchise history.[citation needed]

Club crest and colors[edit]

Nashville SC's primary colors are electric gold and acoustic blue. The club's crest is a gold octagon with a monogram "N" and several vertical bars in blue. The vertical bars were chosen to represent sound waves and vibrations, referencing the city's musical history.[24][3][29]


Period Kit manufacturer Shirt sponsor Sleeve sponsor Ref.
2020–present Adidas Renasant Bank Hyundai [30]


A 27,500-seat soccer-specific stadium at the Nashville Fairgrounds is planned to be the team's home when it opens in 2022.[31] The $275 million stadium will be mostly funded by revenue bonds from the Nashville government, per an agreement with the Nashville Metro Council that was approved in November 2017.[32] The council approved the stadium on September 4, 2018, with the votes 31-yes and 8-no, with a crowd in the room of supporters and opponents in the audience. A proposal to submit the plan to a referendum based on Metro government's "partial funding" was rejected by the council, with the votes 25-yes (to reject the referendum) and 12-no (to permit).[33]

In January 2019, John Rose, a U.S. representative from Cookeville led the nonprofit that operates the Tennessee State Fair to sue the team to halt construction, citing that the stadium would not leave adequate space required for the functions of the fair.[34] However, in February of the same year, Rose and the nonprofit dismissed the lawsuit citing that city officials would not meet with the nonprofit while this suit was pending.[35] Demolition on the Fairgrounds site began in March 2020.[36]

The agreement of the stadium and its funding details was amended on February 13, 2020, with the help of Nashville Mayor John Cooper. The stadium will now be 100 percent privately funded and the team will also fund $19 million of infrastructure improvements in the immediate area.[37]

Players and staff[edit]

Current roster[edit]

As of April 29, 2021[38]
No. Pos. Player Nation
1 GK Joe Willis  United States
2 DF Daniel Lovitz  United States
3 DF Jalil Anibaba  United States
4 DF David Romney  United States
5 DF Jack Maher (GA)  United States
6 MF Dax McCarty  United States
7 FW Abu Danladi  Ghana
8 FW Randall Leal (DP)  Costa Rica
9 FW Dominique Badji  Senegal
10 MF Hany Mukhtar (DP)  Germany
11 FW Rodrigo Piñeiro  Uruguay
12 DF Alistair Johnston  Canada
13 MF Irakoze Donasiyano  Tanzania
14 FW Daniel Ríos  Mexico
15 DF Eric Miller  United States
17 FW CJ Sapong  United States
18 DF Dylan Nealis  United States
19 MF Alex Muyl (HG)  United States
20 MF Aníbal Godoy  Panama
22 MF Matt LaGrassa  United States
23 DF Taylor Washington  United States
24 DF Robert Castellanos  United States
25 DF Walker Zimmerman  United States
26 MF Luke Haakenson  United States
27 MF Brian Anunga  Cameroon
30 GK Elliot Panicco  United States
31 DF Nick Hinds  United States
35 GK Bryan Meredith  United States
70 MF Handwalla Bwana (HG)  Kenya
99 FW Jhonder Cádiz (DP; on loan from Benfica)  Venezuela

Out on loan[edit]

No. Pos. Player Nation
MF David Accam (on loan to Hammarby IF)  Ghana
DF Miguel Nazarit (on loan to Santa Fe)  Colombia


As of January 7, 2020[39]
Technical Staff
Head coach Gary Smith
Assistant coach Steve Guppy
Assistant coach Brett Jacobs
Goalkeeping coach Matt Pickens
General manager Mike Jacobs
Assistant general manager Ally Mackay
Chief scout Chance Myers
Director, strategy & analytics Oliver Miller-Farrell


Nashville SC support is organized by The Backline Supporters Collective, an umbrella organization for all independent supporters groups. Supporters groups include The Roadies, The Assembly, Eastern Front, Music City Supporters, Music City Heaters and La Brigada de Oro. The Backline coordinates a social and inclusive pre-game atmosphere for all supporters, orchestrates a rowdy and raucous environment in the supporters’ end of the stadium to propel Nashville SC to victory, and facilitates travel to away matches.



This is a list of MLS seasons completed by Nashville. For the full season-by-season history, see List of Nashville SC seasons.

Season League Position Playoffs USOC Continental / Other Average
Top goalscorer(s)
Div League Pld W L D GF GA GD Pts PPG Conf. Overall Name(s) Goals
2020 1 MLS 23 8 7 8 24 22 +2 32 1.39 7th 14th QF NH MLS is Back Tournament DNE 12,925 Germany Hany Mukhtar 5


MLS Cup Playoff Appearances: 2020

^ 1. Avg. Attendance include statistics from league matches only.
^ 2. Top Goalscorer(s) includes all goals scored in League, Playoffs, U.S. Open Cup, MLS is Back Tournament, CONCACAF Champions League, FIFA Club World Cup, and other competitive continental matches.


  1. ^ MLSsoccer staff (October 14, 2020). "Nashville SC issue statement after court ruling on construction of new stadium". MLS Digital. Retrieved October 26, 2020. Nashville SC currently play their home games at Nissan Stadium, which they share with the NFL's Tennessee Titans.
  2. ^ Garrison, Joey (January 10, 2019). "Nashville Sports Authority finalizes $225M bond sale for new MLS stadium". The Tennessean. Retrieved February 27, 2019.
  3. ^ a b c "Nashville MLS expansion team unveils name, crest". MLS Digital. February 20, 2019. Retrieved May 5, 2020. Ingram's partners in the soccer club include Minnesota Vikings owners Mark, Zygi and Leonard Wilf, and the Turner Family, managing partners of Nashville-based MarketStreet Enterprises.
  4. ^ Garrison, Joey (October 4, 2017). "Nashville MLS stadium plan raises questions over 10-acre private development". The Tennessean. Retrieved February 21, 2019. The Turners, who led the transformation of the Gulch neighborhood a decade ago, recently signed on as minority owners in the Ingram-led MLS investment group.
  5. ^ "1982 Nashville Diamonds". July 30, 2012. Retrieved December 20, 2017.
  6. ^ a b Barker, Matthew (February 25, 2015). "Fan-owned Nashville FC under threat from US franchise: Club ownership model a rarity among US sports teams". When Saturday Comes. Archived from the original on February 25, 2015. Retrieved March 5, 2015.
  7. ^ "NASHVILLE ATLAS FC JOINS THE NPSL". National Premier Soccer League. Archived from the original on October 23, 2013. Retrieved February 10, 2014.
  8. ^ Boyer, E.J. (May 27, 2014). "Nashville FC soccer club draws crowd in first home opener, eyes Greer Stadium". The Business Journals. Archived from the original on March 5, 2015. Retrieved May 30, 2014.
  9. ^ Itel, Dan (July 29, 2015). "Supporter-owned FC Nashville looking to make jump up soccer pyramid". MLS Digital. Retrieved March 5, 2016.
  10. ^ "USL Formally Welcomes Nashville to League". United Soccer League. July 1, 2016. Retrieved July 1, 2016.
  11. ^ Rodriguez, Alicia (December 19, 2016). "Tennessee legislature proposes bill to help fund Nashville MLS stadium". MLS Digital. Retrieved May 5, 2020.
  12. ^ Stejskal, Sam (August 9, 2016). "Nashville business leaders form group to bring MLS to the Music City". MLS Digital. Retrieved May 5, 2020.
  13. ^ "Soccer stadium backers detail redevelopment plans". Nashville Post. October 23, 2017.
  14. ^ "Nashville soccer fans come out in force for $275M MLS stadium proposal". The Tennessean. October 24, 2017.
  15. ^ "Nashville MLS expansion bid gets boost from $275m stadium approval". ESPN. November 8, 2017.
  16. ^ Garrison, Joey (May 4, 2017). "John Ingram buys majority stake in Nashville SC, aligning efforts for MLS bid". The Tennessean. Retrieved May 16, 2017.
  17. ^ Garrison, Joey (December 20, 2016). "Businessman John Ingram to lead Nashville's Major League Soccer bid". The Tennessean. Retrieved May 16, 2017.
  18. ^ Garrison, Joey (December 15, 2016). "Nashville among 10 cities under consideration for four MLS expansion teams". The Tennessean. Retrieved May 16, 2017.
  19. ^ Garrison, Joey (August 8, 2017). "Wilf family, owners of the Minnesota Vikings, joins Nashville's MLS ownership group". The Tennessean. Retrieved December 23, 2017.
  20. ^ Straus, Brian (December 19, 2017). "MLS Announces Nashville Event Where it's Expected to Accept Expansion Bid". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved December 19, 2017.
  21. ^ Rosano, Nicholas (December 20, 2017). "Nashville awarded MLS expansion club". MLS Digital. Retrieved December 20, 2017.
  22. ^ "Former Liverpool chief Ian Ayre to head up Nashville MLS outfit". SportsPro Media. Retrieved May 21, 2018.
  23. ^ "Nashville MLS Appoints First General Manager". MLS Digital. October 30, 2018. Retrieved October 30, 2018.
  24. ^ a b "Nashville SC Unveiled as Name of MLS Club". MLS Digital. February 20, 2019. Retrieved May 5, 2020.
  25. ^ "Nashville SC to host Atlanta United in inaugural MLS match". MLS Digital. November 18, 2019. Retrieved May 5, 2020.
  26. ^ "Nashville SC sets attendance record in first MLS match". Nashville PRIDE, Inc. March 6, 2020. Retrieved April 3, 2020.
  27. ^ Liljenwall, Ari (February 29, 2020). "Nashville SC 1, Atlanta United 2". MLS Digital. Retrieved May 5, 2020.
  28. ^ Butler, Dylan (March 12, 2020). "List of Major League Soccer games affected by coronavirus-related suspension". MLS Digital. Retrieved May 5, 2020.
  29. ^ Torres, Luis (February 20, 2019). "Nashville MLS: Team releases new logo, brands itself as Nashville SC". The Tennessean. Retrieved February 20, 2019.
  30. ^ "Nashville SC Unveils First Major League Soccer Jersey". MLS Digital. January 18, 2020. Retrieved January 18, 2020.
  31. ^ Prince-Right, Joe (September 5, 2018). "Nashville's $275 million MLS stadium approved". Retrieved September 5, 2018.
  32. ^ Garrison, Joey (November 7, 2017). "Nashville Metro Council approves financing for $275M MLS stadium project". The Tennessean. Retrieved December 20, 2017.
  33. ^ "Nashville MLS stadium project wins final Metro Council approval". The Tennessean. Retrieved September 5, 2018.
  34. ^ Garrison, Joey. "Tennessee congressman's state fair group sues Nashville seeking to stop MLS stadium". The Tennessean. Retrieved April 3, 2020.
  35. ^ Tamburin, Adam. "Tennessee State Fair Association withdraws suit against Nashville MLS stadium construction". The Tennessean. Retrieved April 3, 2020.
  36. ^ Sigal, Jonathan (March 16, 2020). "Nashville SC begin demolition at fairgrounds site for soccer-specific stadium". MLS Digital. Retrieved May 5, 2020.
  37. ^ Borg, Simon (February 13, 2020). "New Nashville soccer stadium is a go: MLS club, mayor agree on revised deal". MLS Digital. Retrieved May 5, 2020.
  38. ^ "Roster". MLS Digital. November 26, 2019. Retrieved November 27, 2019.
  39. ^ "Technical Staff". MLS Digital. Retrieved December 21, 2019.

External links[edit]