NASHVILLE –The largest soccer tournament in the world takes place every four years, and for Nashville SC fan Wabi, waiting for the next FIFA World Cup to watch his favorite teams seemed like an eternity. He was in search of something more, a team that he felt connected to year-round.
“What makes me passionate is that I’m so excited to finally have a team to call my own that is right in my backyard,” Wabi said. “We’d watch the World Cup every time enthusiastically, but every time it was over, it was like, ‘Oh, okay. Well it looks like I’ll enjoy soccer four years from now again.’ I didn’t understand club soccer.”
Wabi soon found that international tournaments captured his attention for a few weeks, but it was Nashville SC that captured his heart every single day. His upbringing taught him to love soccer, and that passion continued on as he began to discover the community that rallied around NSC.
“I grew up with soccer around my whole life. I’m Congolese. Like many Africans, soccer is extremely important,” he continued. “I think the part of the experience that I love most is seeing just the passion right then and there that this is your team, that this is your community.”
Tennessee is a hotbed for college sports and boasts some of the largest fan bases in the country. However, Wabi recognizes that not all Nashvillians feel united behind a collegiate team, which leaves a void in the state’s sports landscape. He says that Nashville SC has filled that gap by providing those residents a place to call home.
“This is part of SEC country,” he said. “And it’s great to see that translate into a soccer stadium with so many different people who might not get that experience or might not understand it or feel welcomed in other venues. They feel right at home.”
Diversity plays a role in what Wabi feels makes the club so important and distinct. He’s proud to be involved with the launch of Major League Soccer in the city and appreciates that the growth of soccer is bringing the community together.
“I think [Nashville] is already on a good start,” he said. “It’s so much more diverse than you could imagine. There’s over 100 languages spoken in this one town. It’s amazing to me how many people here, if you just talk to them, are into soccer.”
The World Cup opens the conversation of pride, unity and diversity every few years, and those qualities are woven into Nashville SC’s culture. To Wabi, watching Music City celebrate those characteristics is what’s most valuable.
“They’ve had different life experiences, different cultures, different ethnic backgrounds, diversity, everything,” he said. “But they are also passionate about this one thing and seeing how it can grow, it can become something that people can all feel that they are a part of that represents them. That’s why I’m so excited about it.”
Nashville SC is ready to welcome you to our family. Join Wabi and thousands of other passionate fans by ordering your season tickets for Nashville SC’s inaugural MLS season. Click below to order yours.