NASHVILLE, Tenn. (June 13, 2023) – Nashville Soccer Club, in a historic press conference for the organization at GEODIS Park, announced today the signing of Academy product Adem Sipić, as Nashville SC’s first Homegrown player. Sipić will become eligible to compete as a Boy in Gold in Major League Soccer in the 2024 season through 2027, with a club option for 2028.
As part of the Homegrown Player program, Sipić becomes the first player in club history to complete the pathway to the pros for Nashville SC by developing through the club’s Academy onto Huntsville City Football Club, the club’s MLS NEXT Pro affiliate, and finally by signing a First Team contract.
The 17-year-old forward from Bowling Green, Ky. arrived at The Gold Mine, Nashville SC’s Academy, in 2020 as a U-15 player and quickly moved onto the U-17’s with whom he began playing as competition resumed in 2021, following the COVID-19 Pandemic.
In his first MLS NEXT season, Sipić appeared in 15 matches and scored two goals. His development and improvement became noticeable in the 2022/23 season, as he helped propel Nashville SC’s U-17’s through the GA Cup qualifiers and ultimately to the 2023 GA Cup in Florida where he registered two goals. As the captain of the U-17’s, Sipić appeared in 14 matches scoring 16 goals throughout the season.
In addition to his performances at The Gold Mine, the young striker was called up several times to train with Nashville SC’s First Team during the club’s 2023 preseason and season, as he also moved up to compete with Huntsville City FC in the MLS NEXT Pro. Sipić made his Huntsville City FC debut in the club’s inaugural match against Crown Legacy on Mar. 26, as a second half sub, and recorded the shootout-winning kick from the spot in the sixth round. In total, Sipić has appeared in six matches for HCFC. Just this past Sunday, June 11, the striker scored his first professional goal during the run of play in his first start in a 4-2 victory over St. Louis CITY2 at the Wicks Family Field at Joe Davis Stadium.
The Homegrown Player Rule was launched in 2008 to allow clubs to sign local players from their own academies to their First Team rosters. Because of this rule, clubs can sign an unlimited amount of academy players to a first-team contract on any given year. Any Homegrown Player must have resided in the club's home territory and participated in its youth development system for at least one year, as well as meeting other unspecified league requirements.
Sipić, who will continue to compete with Huntsville City FC in the 2023 MLS NEXT Pro season, will join the Boys in Blue when they host Inter Miami CF II at 6 p.m. CT on Sunday, June 18. Fans can purchase tickets here.
Just a day prior, Nashville SC will host St. Louis CITY SC at 7:30 p.m. CT. Fans can purchase tickets at www.NashvilleSC.com/Tickets and follow the action on the MLS Season Pass on the Apple TV app and on 104.5 The Zone.
Transaction: Nashville SC signs forward Adem Sipić to a first-team contract as the club’s first-ever homegrown player starting in 2024 through 2027, with a club option for 2028
Birthdate: April 5, 2006
Hometown: Bowling Green, Ky.
Nationality: United States and Bosnia and Herzegovina
Last club: Nashville SC Academy
Adem Sipić, Homegrown Player: “It was really just work ethic and coming into training every day with a good attitude and knowing you have a job to do. Just always working hard has been the biggest thing with me. I came into training every day with a positive mindset wanting to get better and help myself and also the people around me. I think the biggest thing would be just work ethic.”
John Ingram, Majority Owner: "I'm really pleased to be here today. You know, one of the things that I was always looking forward to when we started the Club was the day when we might be able to have the first member of our Academy join as a professional member of the team, and I believe we might have that chance today. Not to say that it has been easy, I mean, the pandemic and whatnot, as we were trying to start during all that time was really, really tough. My hat's off to all the all the members of the Academy and the coaching staff and what not. They've done a brilliant job in a very difficult circumstance. I would just say, one more thing is that I remember when we brought Hany Mukhtar into town, and I remember having the chance to look at Hany and say, ‘Hany, you know, you will forever be the first Designated Player this club, Nashville Soccer Club ever sought.’ He will always be. I don't think any of us knew that he might be as good as he turned out to be, but it's been fantastic. We have a great opportunity today to welcome who will be forever the first member of the Nashville SC Academy to sign a professional contract to play for Nashville SC. It brings me a great deal of pleasure to announce Adem Sipić as the first member of our Academy to sign a professional contract with Nashville Soccer Club.”
Mike Jacobs, General Manager: “One thing that our club is synonymous now with is growth. Be it franchises like an MLS club or our second team now in Huntsville, facilities like this palace. Like our training facilities entry forms or one of the finest youth academies Currey Ingram Academy or the development of our youth academy. The lifeline of any club has its youth academy and the ability to grow their own players. That's not just here at Nashville Soccer Club, or in Major League Soccer but really anywhere in the world. It's for a club's present, and as for the club's future, just like the dates when those special facilities being built and opened marked landmark dates, or figurative mile markers for our club, today's another really important and special mile marker for Nashville Soccer Club.
“Signing Adem as our first homegrown player is special for not only Adem and his family and for our club's fans, but really is a peek behind the curtain of what we hope will start to be a conveyor belt of players being grown develop through our First Team be it through our youth academy, which Adem has absolutely smashed over the past year or through Huntsville City FC, where he scored his first professional goal just a couple of days ago. We now have a full pro player pathway that for the first time enables us to be like any other club in the world. It's exciting time for the present and the future of Nashville Soccer Club. Adem is truly a deserving candidate to be our club's first Homegrown.
“Being professional is less about how much money you make and more about how you conduct your business. Knowing that please trust me when I tell you Adem Sipićhas been a professional long before we sign his first contract. As number of people that really need to get a pat in the back for making this all reality. John Ingram's vision not only bring them less club to Nashville but it's also want to see youth academy grown on his own Currey Ingram Academy campus that would attract some of the finest youth soccer players United States. We now have players in our Academy not only from the state of Tennessee, but also players from California, Michigan, Washington D.C. and Bowling Green, Kentucky.
“Kevin Flanagan's leadership of our youth academy is really created standards among our youth players and our young future Boys in Gold. The aspirations are there now truly in the shop window for the first time. He and the rest of the Academy staff need to be credited with identifying and developing our first Homegrown and while also challenged to make sure that Adem isn't just the homegrown but the first of all, of what we hope to be many. As for Adem, I said earlier he's been a professional long before today. His attitude and effort are really a standard for other youth academy players to follow. I'm really proud of him, so happy for his family and friends that are here and excited about the future Nashville soccer club.”
Kevin Flanagan, Academy Director: “Adem’s work rate is incredible, and it's what has him here today, I think, his football ability, we will all see and everyone will see what type of player that he is. The type of player that can be a big part of his character is his competitive character. He wants to win. He's a super teammate. He wants to help his team win games. But I'd say we're the biggest thing that will help him continue in his career is his ability to learn, he wants to learn. He comes with a mindset of you know, I'm here to learn to be working with a staff like Gary [Smith] and his team, he will only continue to grow, learn and develop as a player because of that mentality and that character that he brings.”