NASHVILLE — Nashville SC began its second season in Major League Soccer on Saturday, April 17 by holding its second annual Road to Opening Match Day of Service, pres. by Schneider Electric, as the club continues its commitment to the Nashville community.
Club Majority Owner John Ingram was joined by CEO Ian Ayre, staff, supporters and members of the local community, including District 19 Metro Council Member Freddie O’Connell, to plant 50 trees along the Cumberland River near First Ave. North on Saturday morning ahead of the club’s opening match against FC Cincinnati at Nissan Stadium. The event was held in conjunction with the Nashville Tree Foundation and in support of Root Nashville, a city-wide initiative that aims to plant 500,000 trees across Davidson County by 2050.
The second annual Day of Service is part of MLS WORKS Greener Goals initiative and Major League Soccer’s commitment to reduce its carbon footprint by planting 27,000 trees to balance out the carbon emissions associated with league and club travel.
In 2020, Nashville SC launched this initiative by teaming up with MLS WORKS and Atlanta United FC to plant trees on the East bank of the Cumberland prior to the club’s MLS debut on February 29, 2020.
“There’s something about planting a tree that signifies newness and something that’s a new birth,” said Brandon Hill, Nashville SC Senior Director of Community Engagement. “That’s how we feel about the start of our season. It’s a really cool moment to start off at the beginning of an amazing season with a tree planting event.”
Volunteers planted oak, cherry and redbud trees to replace ash trees just north of Riverfront Park that are being decimated by an invasive beetle species. Ash trees make up 6-10% of Nashville’s urban canopy, according to Andrew Bell, Director of the Nashville Tree Foundation. Replacing them with new trees is important to maintain Nashville’s urban beauty.
“It’s great to have the camaraderie that soccer fans already have with their passion for the sport, and to have them out here using that passion for something else besides the game,” Bell said.
After a year that took so much from the City of Nashville between tornadoes, multiple storms, the pandemic and the Christmas Day bombing, it was a sign of hope on Saturday morning to see people come together to plant new life in the Music City ground.
“On the anniversary of the tornado, the one event that was most meaningful to me was getting to plant a tree with the Tennessee Parks Conservancy, which was starting a new tree planting program,” said Freddie O’Connell, District 19 Metro Council Member. “To have another opportunity today with the sun shining right above the Cumberland River, right in the heart of District 19 is great. We’ve already seen that Nashville SC can win on the field, and it’s awesome to see investment in the community alongside that. So, it’s great to be a part of that.”
For more information on Nashville SC’s work in the community, visit NashvilleSC.com/community.