|Full name||Nashville Soccer Club|
|Nickname(s)||Boys in Gold|
|Founded||May 19, 2016[nb 1]|
|Head coach||Gary Smith|
|League||Major League Soccer|
|2023||Eastern Conference: 7th|
Playoffs: First round
Nashville Soccer Club is an American professional soccer club based in Nashville, Tennessee. The team began play in Major League Soccer 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.
The club was announced on May 19, 2016. The ownership group consisted of David Dill, president and chief operating officer of LifePoint Health; Christopher Redhage, co-founder of ProviderTrust, a health care software company, and former pro soccer player; and Marcus Whitney, president of Jumpstart Foundry, a health care innovation fund, and former chairman of Nashville FC, the city's existing amateur team.
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.
Gary Smith, who led the Colorado Rapids to an MLS Cup championship in 2010, was hired as head coach and technical director on April 12, 2017. 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.
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 August 3, 2023
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
Out on loan
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
- 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|
|Season||League||Position||Playoffs||USOC||Continental / Other||Average
|2020||1||MLS||E[a]||23||8||7||8||24||22||+2||32||1.39||7th||14th||QF||NH||MLS is Back Tournament||DNE||12,925||Hany Mukhtar||5|
|2022||MLS||W||34||13||10||11||52||41||+11||50||1.47||5th||10th||R1||QF||DNQ||27,554||Hany Mukhtar||26 ♦|
|2023||MLS||E||24||11||8||5||31||22||+9||38||1.58||4th||6th||R16||Leagues Cup||RU||28,604||Hany Mukhtar||15|
^ 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, Leagues Cup, CONCACAF Champions League, FIFA Club World Cup, and other competitive continental matches.
- In 2020, Nashville SC switched from the Western Conference to the Eastern Conference after playing 2 matches.
MLS Cup Playoff Appearances: 2020, 2021, 2022
- MLS = Major League Soccer
- PO = MLS Cup Playoffs
- OC = U.S. Open Cup
- LC = Leagues Cup
- CCC = CONCACAF Champions Cup
Statistics include all competitive matches since Nashville SC entered the MLS in 2020. Current players on the club's roster are shown in bold.
|1||Hany Mukhtar||2020–||58||4||3||2||0||67 (132)||0.51|
|2||C. J. Sapong||2021–2023||17||0||1||0||0||18(80)||0.23|
|3||Randall Leal||2020–||16||1||0||0||0||17 (112)||0.15|
|4||Walker Zimmerman||2020–||12||0||0||2||0||14 (119)||0.12|
|5||Fafà Picault||2023||5||0||1||3||0||9 (39)||0.23|
|Teal Bunbury||2022–||8||0||0||1||0||9 (57)||0.16|
|Alex Muyl||2020–||6||0||2||1||0||9 (130)||0.07|
|8||Daniel Ríos||2020–2021||5||1||0||0||0||6 (33)||0.18|
|Jacob Shaffelburg||2022–||5||0||0||1||0||6 (48)||0.13|
|10||Sam Surridge||2023–||2||0||0||3||0||5 (15)||0.33|
|Jhonder Cádiz||2020–2021||4||1||0||0||0||5 (35)||0.14|
- Numbers in brackets indicate appearances made.
- Club founded in 2016. MLS franchise granted in 2017.
- "Nashville SC sign four players from USL Championship side". MLSSoccer.com. MLS Digital. November 22, 2019. Retrieved June 30, 2023.
- "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.
- "Filip Forsberg, Giannis Antetokounmpo Join Nashville Soccer Club Ownership Group".
- "1982 Nashville Diamonds". FunWhileItLasted.net. July 30, 2012. Retrieved December 20, 2017.
- 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.
- "NASHVILLE ATLAS FC JOINS THE NPSL". nationalpremiersoccerleague.com. National Premier Soccer League. Archived from the original on October 23, 2013. Retrieved February 10, 2014.
- 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.
- Itel, Dan (July 29, 2015). "Supporter-owned FC Nashville looking to make jump up soccer pyramid". MLSSoccer.com. MLS Digital. Retrieved March 5, 2016.
- "USL Formally Welcomes Nashville to League". United Soccer League. July 1, 2016. Retrieved July 1, 2016.
- Garrison, Joey (May 19, 2016). "Nashville awarded United Soccer League franchise". The Tennessean. Retrieved May 19, 2016.
- Rodriguez, Alicia (December 19, 2016). "Tennessee legislature proposes bill to help fund Nashville MLS stadium". MLSSoccer.com. MLS Digital. Retrieved May 5, 2020.
- Stejskal, Sam (August 9, 2016). "Nashville business leaders form group to bring MLS to the Music City". MLSSoccer.com. MLS Digital. Retrieved May 5, 2020.
- "Soccer stadium backers detail redevelopment plans". Nashville Post. October 23, 2017.
- "Nashville soccer fans come out in force for $275M MLS stadium proposal". The Tennessean. October 24, 2017.
- "Nashville MLS expansion bid gets boost from $275m stadium approval". ESPN. November 8, 2017.
- Garrison, Joey (May 4, 2017). "John Ingram buys majority stake in Nashville SC, aligning efforts for MLS bid". The Tennessean. Retrieved May 16, 2017.
- Garrison, Joey (December 20, 2016). "Businessman John Ingram to lead Nashville's Major League Soccer bid". The Tennessean. Retrieved May 16, 2017.
- Garrison, Joey (December 15, 2016). "Nashville among 10 cities under consideration for four MLS expansion teams". The Tennessean. Retrieved May 16, 2017.
- "Nashville Unveils Smith as Head Coach". United Soccer League (USL). April 12, 2017. Retrieved April 12, 2017.
- "Gary Smith, MLS Cup-winning coach, to lead Nashville SC". Mike Organ. Nashville Tennessean. April 12, 2017. Retrieved April 12, 2017.
- Garrison, Joey (August 8, 2017). "Wilf family, owners of the Minnesota Vikings, joins Nashville's MLS ownership group". The Tennessean. Retrieved December 23, 2017.
- Rosano, Nicholas (December 20, 2017). "Nashville awarded MLS expansion club". MLSSoccer.com. MLS Digital. Retrieved December 20, 2017.
- "Former Liverpool chief Ian Ayre to head up Nashville MLS outfit". SportsPro Media. Retrieved May 21, 2018.
- "Nashville MLS Appoints First General Manager". NashvilleSC.com. MLS Digital. October 30, 2018. Retrieved October 30, 2018.
- "Nashville SC Unveiled as Name of MLS Club". NashvilleSC.com. MLS Digital. February 20, 2019. Retrieved May 5, 2020.
- "Nashville SC to host Atlanta United in inaugural MLS match". MLSSoccer.com. MLS Digital. November 18, 2019. Retrieved May 5, 2020.
- "Nashville SC sets attendance record in first MLS match". Nashville PRIDE, Inc. March 6, 2020. Retrieved April 3, 2020.
- 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.
- "Nashville SC – Stats". MLSSoccer.com.
- "Squad of Nashville SC". BeSoccer.com.