NASHVILLE (November 6, 2018) – One of the stars for Nashville Soccer Club in its inaugural season, goalkeeper Matt Pickens, was named one of three finalists for the United Soccer League’s (USL) 2018 Goalkeeper of the Year award on Tuesday afternoon.
“Matt proves again that he ranks among the best in USL,” said Nashville SC head coach Gary Smith. “He was a rock for us this season and set the type of example that continues to inspire others around him.”
Pickens was Nashville SC’s first-ever signing last offseason and came to the club with championship pedigree. He played up to the billing in 2018, keeping 14 shutouts, the second-most in the USL, and finishing the year with .90 goals against average, the third-best mark in the league.
Overall, Pickens made 93 saves this season, good for fifth in the USL, and third in the Eastern Conference. The 36-year-old even added an assist to his 2018 resume when he notched a helper on a Ropapa Mensah goal early in the season. The assists was the second in Pickens' career, and the first since 2011.
“Matt was asked to stand tall for us time and again all season, and always rose to the occasion,” said Nashville SC VP of soccer operations and technical director Mike Jacobs. “It is to no one’s surprise that he is being recognized among the top goalkeepers in the USL for 2018.”
Prior to being Nashville’s first signing, Pickens spent four seasons with the Tampa Bay Rowdies where he became the club’s all-time wins and games leader amongst keepers. In his career, Pickens has won an MLS Cup (Colorado Rapids, 2010) and a U.S. Open Cup (Chicago Fire, 2006).
Other finalists for USL’s 2018 Goalkeeper of the Year include Ottawa Fury FC’s Maxime Crépeau and Sacramento Republic’s Josh Cohen. The winner will be unveiled next Monday.