Nashville SC has reached a number of milestones over the last year.
The club celebrated its first win, first Audi MLS Cup Playoff berth, and first steel beam in the ground at its new soccer-specific stadium coming in 2022, all as the pandemic has held a grip on the world. Now, Nashville gets to celebrate one more milestone: over 11,000 season tickets sold in its second Major League Soccer season.
The club has brought together fans who have followed its journey since its humble beginnings and fans that are just starting to get hooked on soccer in Music City. To celebrate this milestone, we spoke with a few of those 11,000 members about what Nashville SC means to them.
Season Ticket Members are beginning the process of selecting their seats in the New Nashville SC Stadium on July 6. Becoming a season ticket member is the best way to lock N a seat at the best price in the new Nashville SC Stadium. Select your seats at the new Nashville SC Stadium first by purchasing your Season Ticket Membership today by clicking here.
Carlos and Vickie Coronel
February 29, 2020 was a long time coming for the Coronels.
They’ve been season ticket members with Nashville SC since the club played in the USL Championship at First Horizon Park. After watching the club grow from its humble roots, seeing over 59,000 fans pack into Nissan Stadium was truly something to behold.
For Carlos, seeing that passion for soccer in the stands that night meant even more. The game has been a lifelong passion since his upbringing in Guayaquil, Ecuador.
“I always followed soccer,” Carlos said. “That’s the sport that I do. I was waiting for Nashville to get a team. I used to travel to Atlanta to watch some of the games, so as soon as we got a new team, we joined the First String. We like the Nashville atmosphere, the soccer atmosphere, the diversity, the different people, all the supporter groups.”
Carlos and Vickie met when they were students at Middle Tennessee State University in 1988. Vickie, a native of Murfreesboro, got into the game through her husband’s obsession.
“I had a lot of friends growing up that played soccer, but I didn’t play it myself,” she said. “When I met Carlos, he watched it 24/7.”
Through the pandemic, Carlos and Vickie tuned in to matches on Zoom with their fellow supporters in The Roadies, and they’re looking forward to being back in Nissan Stadium this season and bringing that same passion for soccer that they’ve always had.
For them, the club means more than soccer.
“It’s something for Nashville to be proud of,” Vickie said. “I’m so glad we finally got the team."
The Lockhart Family
Michael Lockhart’s soccer story begins all the way in Bremen, Germany.
He lived in Germany while deployed with the U.S. Army and afterwards while studying to become a dental lab technician. While he was there, he discovered soccer through the local Bundesliga club, Werder Bremen.
“The energy this city had for this team, you couldn’t help but to be part of it,” Michael said. “They won major titles. They have such an outstanding soccer team, and because of the energy of the city, every time they played, that's what got me into it going to these games.”
Michael brought that passion back to the United States and never let it go. Now, he lives in Russellville, Kentucky with his wife Penny, who retired from a career in the U.S. Navy and the United States Social Security Administration. Their son plays soccer for his high school team and will be going to Barry University in Florida after he graduates.
The Lockharts first got involved in Nashville SC when Penny bought Michael season tickets ahead of the 2020 season. They attended the club’s opening match on February 29, 2020, and got extra tickets for their son and a friend. Penny hadn’t seen a live professional soccer match before, and she says she was blown away by the action and the atmosphere.
“I love the energy, the energy was fun,” Penny said. “If you know my personality, I’m very bubbly and excited. I saw husband smiling and enjoying himself. I looked up in the stands and saw my son and nephew having a blast. We FaceTimed each other, and they were happy. When I saw them having that much fun, that’s all I needed. Now, I’ve grown to love it, too. I know what offsides is, and I know what a free kick is, and I asked a lot of questions, of course.”
April 17’s Nashville SC home opener marked the Lockharts’ return to Nissan Stadium for the first time since the club’s inaugural match in 2020. It also marked a major milestone in a return to normalcy that they have craved so much over the last year.
“I’m looking forward to wins, getting back out there, being outside, trying to get some sense of normalcy,” Penny said. “We’ve both had our vaccines, our son has had his vaccine, so we’re more apt to be ready to get out there. For me, that’s what I'm looking forward to. I’m looking forward to the energy, and I’m looking forward to people having some sense of normalcy. I’m looking forward to just coming together again.”
Coach Turkish is proud to be a Nashville SC season ticket member.
But his tickets aren’t just for him. They’re for his hundreds of players, coaches and parents involved in Murfreesboro Soccer Club, where Turkish serves as Executive Director.
“We have a big player pool and families that see the sport as important in their lives,” Turkish said. “We wanted to utilize this opportunity to support the club and spread the love of the game to those who might not be able to purchase season tickets.”
For many of the kids, soccer is a hobby and a passion. For others, the game is a competitive pastime that they hope to continue playing at the next level. Regardless of the level of competitiveness, having a top-tier professional soccer team in the area is a big boost to youth soccer.
“I think it’s very important,” Turkish said. “When you’re a coach and start working for a club, I think the biggest thing that you aspire to is to make sure you develop players on and off the pitch. One of the biggest ways to do that is to expose them to as many opportunities as possible. Having Nashville SC is a great opportunity for those who might not even be able to get to Nashville from Murfreesboro. To be able to even just watch it on TV is a phenomenal situation.”
Turkish grew up as a youth prospect in the Fenerbahçe Academy in Turkey. Having seen what an established club can do for a community, he’s looking forward to seeing Nashville SC’s new stadium continue to rise in Wedgewood-Houston.
“I really think that having more fans in the stadium, being in that environment is essential for everyone,” Turkish said. “I think fans will be really excited to come to a new venue. It’s essential to expect that.”
The 10,000th Member: Lucas Gallagher
Nashville SC VP of Ticketing Chris Gallagher watched the numbers climb on the evening of February 10, 2020.
It was the last day fans could join the First String Founding MLS Member program, and interest was high. As sales climbed towards the 10,000-ticket mark, Gallagher had an idea.
With a click of a button, it was official: the 10,000th season ticket in Nashville SC history belonged to seven-year-old Lucas Gallagher.
“I had intended to buy a couple of season tickets to put in my seven-year-old son’s name, because I wanted to make sure he got his name on the stadium,” Gallagher said. “I’m looking at the numbers as the night is going on, and there was tons of interest. We had two more to go to get to 10,000, and so I said I’m going to buy them now.”
As the leader of Nashville SC’s ticketing department, Gallagher felt proud to hit such an important milestone in his son’s name. More importantly, he’s excited to see his son grow up and see his name on a piece of Nashville history.
“He’s only seven, so he doesn’t really know, but these stadiums are going to live for a long time,” he said. “It’ll be cool one day for him to see his name on the stadium.”
Now as the club’s second season in MLS is underway, Gallagher says he is grateful for the support Nashville has shown for the club through a difficult 2020 and is looking forward to seeing how the fanbase will grow from the 11,000 tickets already sold.
“I’m amazed by the support that we continually see from the fanbase,” Gallagher said. “The beauty of it is I think we’re just scratching the surface right now. The group that’s with us now, they are certainly carrying that passion forward and spreading it to others. It is amazing that we had one true match [in 2020]. It was a big one with 59,000 people. I think there’s a passion to keep growing the sport in the market too, and you see that from the season ticket base.”
Join our growing family of season ticket members today. Becoming a season ticket member is the best way to lock N a seat in the new Nashville SC Stadium. Select your seats at the new Nashville SC Stadium first by purchasing your Season Ticket Membership today by clicking here.