MURFREESBORO – On Wednesday afternoon, Nashville Soccer Club GM Mike Jacobs gave a speech at the opening ceremony for the U.S. Youth Soccer National Presidents Cup in Murfreesboro.
The tournament features 40 Boys and Girls teams in the 13U through 17U age groups that qualified for the tournament after progressing through state and regional competitions. It is being held at the Richard Siegel Soccer Complex in Murfreesboro now through Sunday, July 14.
Jacobs gave a motivational speech for the players, urging them to compete in the tournament with a balance of ego and humility. He encouraged the players to play with confidence and to be grateful for the opportunity to compete at such a high level. He was thrilled that the Middle Tennessee area has the chance to host a national youth soccer tournament of this caliber.
“It’s great for our state to be hosting events of this magnitude. If we are to continue to grow the standard of players in the state of Tennessee, we have to be major players in hosting events that compete for national championships.”
Jacobs understands the importance of the youth soccer base in growing interest in the game across the state, and growing interest in the club. He is also grateful for the strong youth soccer culture that already exists in the state.
“Here you have first generation soccer families,” Jacobs said. “You have families who grew up playing themselves, and you have children who are playing. So for us, we already have this base here of families who support soccer and participants that play youth soccer.”
From a technical perspective, Jacobs hopes to help grow and raise the standards of the youth soccer scene in Nashville with eyes on the club’s MLS academy coming together ahead of its inaugural season in the top flight. As the excitement builds towards MLS in 2020, he hopes the club can build up a strong base of players to eventually fill out the first Nashville SC academy, and also a strong base of fans.
“I think the key for us now is can we get that enthusiasm growing as kids get older and older, but also now can we improve the standard of those kids that they become not only lifelong soccer enthusiasts, but can some of those kids become good enough players to help us down the road,” Jacobs said.