Moles 1920

It all started with one conversation at soccer practice in 2013.  

Jason Moles, then-president of the Wilson United Soccer League, had a chat with a parent of a player in the league, Chris Jones. They discussed Jones’ idea for a fan-owned soccer club in Nashville. Moles offered his unequivocal support.  

That club became Nashville FC, which evolved over the next few years and helped lead to the current iteration of Nashville Soccer Club.  

Through its ascendancy, Jason and his wife Rhonda have supported the club and assumed leadership roles among the supporters groups. You can find them standing and chanting in the “Chaos Corner” next to the supporters section on every matchday. Jason can be recognized by the unique name of the back of his jersey, “Poppa Smoke.” 

“Back in the day, I was one of the guys that would pop the smoke bombs at games,” Jason said. “I am a little older than most of the supporters. I remember everyone singing ‘We want the smoke! Bring on the smoke!’ It was a high-scoring game, and we were about to run out of smoke bombs. Someone said ‘Light it up, Poppa Smoke!’ It just stuck.” 

While Jason has lit the fuse, Rhonda has fostered a community of women in the Nashville SC supporters section by founding the “Goalden Girls” with her friend Jennifer. 

“It all started really because I always sought out the women at the tailgates that I could really tell were just tagging along with a male diehard fan,” Rhonda said. “I wanted them to feel welcomed and comfortable. More and more started gathering together so we just decided to brand our girl gang. Even though we are not an official supporters group, we have grown steadily and provided an avenue for female supporters and beyond.” 

On May 1 of this year, Jason and Rhonda got to see the culmination of years of support and work come to life when GEODIS Park opened for the first time. Jason said it was a moment of reflection for him. 

“Back in the day, the club sent a questionnaire about what we wanted to see in the stadium as a supporter,” he said. “I wanted the stadium to be on top of the field and I wanted it to be loud and intimidating. We completely accomplished those things to the highest level. It was loud. It was packed. It was emotionally overwhelming. Seeing the city buy into a sport that we knew would work here. Seeing people wear jerseys of OUR players. OUR colors. Honestly it brought a tear to my eye because of the implications for youth soccer in our area.” 

Nashville SC has been a part of the Moles family since its humble origins nearly a decade ago. As the club has grown, that family has been extended to those who share a common bond of love for the Boys in Gold.  

“Our soccer people are our family,” Rhonda said. “Over the years there have been marriages of folk who met cheering on our Boys in Gold, and now there's babies from those unions. It showcases that soccer truly brings people together! We have a core group we travel with and I swear at this point we know each other's favorite drinks and food. We can complete each other’s sentences.  It's like we've been lifelong friends.”