|Full name||Nashville Soccer Club|
|Nickname(s)||NSC, The Music|
|Founded||December 20, 2017|
|Head coach||Gary Smith|
|League||Major League Soccer|
|2022||Western Conference: 5th|
Playoffs: First round
Nashville Soccer Club is a Major League Soccer club 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 Geodis Park. It is principally owned by John Ingram, owner of Ingram Industries, along with investors and partial owners the Turner family of Dollar General Stores.
Soccer in Nashville
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.
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. 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. The team played its matches at Vanderbilt Stadium. 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, and then ascension into the Division II North American Soccer League by 2020. 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.
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. 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. In October 2017, the group unveiled their plans for $275 million stadium and redevelopment project, which was approved by the city in November.
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. Ingram also headed up the bid to bring an MLS franchise to Nashville, 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. In August 2017, Mark Wilf, Zygi Wilf and Leonard Wilf joined as investors; the Wilfs, owners of the National Football League's Minnesota Vikings, had previously backed an aborted MLS expansion bid in Minneapolis.
MLS officially awarded an expansion team to Nashville on December 20, 2017, and announced that they would join the league in 2020. On May 21, 2018, Ian Ayre was announced as the CEO of the franchise. On October 30, 2018, Mike Jacobs was announced as the general manager of the franchise.
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.
Nashville SC's inaugural MLS match was February 29, 2020, with the club hosting Atlanta United FC at Nissan Stadium. The game was played in front of 59,069, becoming the highest attended soccer event in Tennessee. Walker Zimmerman scored the team's first goal in the 2–1 loss. 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, 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. Nashville SC finished the 2020 regular season 8–8–7 with 32 points. They entered the MLS Cup playoffs in the play-in round beating Inter Miami 3–0 before knocking off Toronto FC 1–0 in the first round, Nashville in the conference semi-finals 2–0.
Club crest and colors
Nashville SC's primary colors are electric gold and acoustic blue, referencing the colors of Nashville’s flag. 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.
|Period||Kit manufacturer||Shirt sponsor||Sleeve sponsor||Ref.|
The team plays at Geodis Park, a 30,000-seat soccer-specific stadium at the Nashville Fairgrounds. The $275 million stadium was mostly funded by revenue bonds from the Nashville government, per an agreement with the Nashville Metro Council that was approved in November 2017. The council approved the stadium on September 4, 2018, with the votes 31-yes and 8-no, with a crowd in the audience in the room. 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).
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. 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. Demolition on the Fairgrounds site began in March 2020.
The agreement of the stadium and its funding details was amended on February 13, 2020, with the help of Nashville Mayor John Cooper to make the stadium 100 percent privately funded with the team will also funding $19 million of infrastructure improvements in the immediate area.
Nashville, for their first two seasons, had played in Nissan Stadium; owned by Metro Nashville and operated by its primary tenant: the NFL's Tennessee Titans. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there were limited seating capacity in their tenure while using the stadium.
Players and staff
- As of April 25, 2023
|1||GK||Joe Willis||United States|
|2||DF||Daniel Lovitz||United States|
|4||DF||Nick DePuy||United States|
|5||DF||Jack Maher (GA)||United States|
|6||MF||Dax McCarty||United States|
|7||FW||Fafà Picault||United States|
|8||FW||Randall Leal||Costa Rica|
|10||MF||Hany Mukhtar (DP)||Germany|
|11||FW||Ethan Zubak (HG)||United States|
|12||FW||Teal Bunbury||United States|
|13||DF||Joey Skinner (GA)||United States|
|18||DF||Shaq Moore||United States|
|19||MF||Alex Muyl (HG)||United States|
|21||DF||Ahmed Longmire||United States|
|22||DF||Josh Bauer||United States|
|23||DF||Taylor Washington||United States|
|25||DF||Walker Zimmerman (DP)||United States|
|26||MF||Luke Haakenson||United States|
|28||FW||Tyler Freeman||United States|
|29||FW||Nebiyou Perry||United States|
|30||GK||Elliot Panicco||United States|
|54||MF||Sean Davis||United States|
|67||GK||Ben Martino (HG)||United States|
- As of January 7, 2020
|Head coach||Gary Smith|
|Assistant coach||Steve Guppy|
|Assistant coach||Kosuke Kimura|
|Goalkeeping coach||Matt Pickens|
|General manager||Mike Jacobs|
|Assistant general manager||Ally Mackay|
|Chief scout||Chance Myers|
|Director, strategy & analytics||Oliver Miller-Farrell|
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
|2020||1||MLS||23||8||7||8||24||22||+2||32||1.39||7th||14th||QF||NH||MLS is Back Tournament||DNE||12,925||Hany Mukhtar||5|
MLS Cup Playoff Appearances: 2020, 2021, 2022
^ 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.
- ^ a b c "Nashville MLS expansion team unveils name, crest". MLSSoccer.com. 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.
- ^ 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.
- ^ Capps, Milt (November 12, 2018). "Venture Notes - November 12, 2018". ESPN. Retrieved January 27, 2023.
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- ^ "1982 Nashville Diamonds". FunWhileItLasted.net. July 30, 2012. Retrieved December 20, 2017.
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- ^ Garrison, Joey (August 8, 2017). "Wilf family, owners of the Minnesota Vikings, joins Nashville's MLS ownership group". The Tennessean. Retrieved December 23, 2017.
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- ^ a b "Nashville SC Unveiled as Name of MLS Club". NashvilleSC.com. MLS Digital. February 20, 2019. Retrieved May 5, 2020.
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- ^ Liljenwall, Ari (February 29, 2020). "Nashville SC 1, Atlanta United 2". MLSSoccer.com. MLS Digital. Retrieved May 5, 2020.
- ^ Butler, Dylan (March 12, 2020). "List of Major League Soccer games affected by coronavirus-related suspension". MLSSoccer.com. MLS Digital. Retrieved May 5, 2020.
- ^ Torres, Luis (February 20, 2019). "Nashville MLS: Team releases new logo, brands itself as Nashville SC". The Tennessean. Retrieved February 20, 2019.
- ^ "Nashville SC Unveils First Major League Soccer Jersey". NashvilleSC.com. MLS Digital. January 18, 2020. Retrieved January 18, 2020.
- ^ Prince-Right, Joe (September 5, 2018). "Nashville's $275 million MLS stadium approved". Retrieved September 5, 2018.
- ^ Garrison, Joey (November 7, 2017). "Nashville Metro Council approves financing for $275M MLS stadium project". The Tennessean. Retrieved December 20, 2017.
- ^ "Nashville MLS stadium project wins final Metro Council approval". The Tennessean. Retrieved September 5, 2018.
- ^ Garrison, Joey. "Tennessee congressman's state fair group sues Nashville seeking to stop MLS stadium". The Tennessean. Retrieved April 3, 2020.
- ^ Tamburin, Adam. "Tennessee State Fair Association withdraws suit against Nashville MLS stadium construction". The Tennessean. Retrieved April 3, 2020.
- ^ Sigal, Jonathan (March 16, 2020). "Nashville SC begin demolition at fairgrounds site for soccer-specific stadium". MLSSoccer.com. MLS Digital. Retrieved May 5, 2020.
- ^ Borg, Simon (February 13, 2020). "New Nashville soccer stadium is a go: MLS club, mayor agree on revised deal". MLSSoccer.com. MLS Digital. Retrieved May 5, 2020.
- ^ "Roster". NashvilleSC.com. Nashville SC. Retrieved April 16, 2022.
- ^ "Technical Staff". NashvilleSC.com. MLS Digital. Retrieved December 21, 2019.