In late 2013, our general manager, Chris Jones, and a few others established the Nashville Football Club. NFC was a member-based nonprofit club in which the fans themselves operated the club, thus creating the motto of “Our Town, Our Club.” The grassroots movement, fueled by the belief that Nashville could quickly grow into a professional soccer town, quickly garnered national attention from the likes of MLS Soccer, Yahoo Sports and Vice Sports.
In its inaugural season, the Nashville Football Club played at Vanderbilt University’s Soccer Stadium in the National Premier Soccer League, an amateur league consisting of mostly collegiate athletes. A small group of dedicated fans, thirsty for soccer in Nashville, attended every home game, eventually earning the moniker “The Roadies.”
In the Spring of 2016, discussions began, with the approval of the NFC membership, between NFC’s Board of Directors and local investors. These talks were led by David Dill, Chris Redhage and Marcus Whitney, who were intrigued by the early success of NFC and wanted to take the club’s brand and vision of grassroots community involvement to the United Soccer League (USL).
NFC’s members overwhelmingly voted to transfer the club’s name, crest and colors to the investor group in exchange for an equity stake in the new professional club and a voice in its management, continuing the tradition that had been established. On July 1, 2016, with Mayor Megan Barry marching with The Roadies into Bridgestone Arena and firing up a crowd of nearly a thousand, Nashville FC became the USL’s newest franchise, taking the field in 2018.
The ensuing months saw further evolution as the club was re-branded as Nashville Soccer Club, and ownership committed to fielding a U23 team in the Premier Development League. With dynamic fan engagement and rich tradition, Nashville SC took the field to thousands of fans at Vanderbilt Stadium in the summer of 2017.
On December 20, 2017, it was announced by Commissioner Don Garber and the MLS2Nashville committee that Nashville had been awarded a Major League Soccer Franchise. It capped a meteoric rise for the city and its fans to bring top flight professional soccer to the city of Nashville. With the help of Nashville SC majority owner John Ingram, Nashville SC will lead Nashville’s pro soccer movement into the future and to MLS.
In the spring of 2018, Nashville Soccer Club will begin play in the USL and bring to the city what fans have yearned for, professional soccer. Kickoff on Nashville SC’s historic season will begin on February 10, 2018 when the club plays host to MLS club, Atlanta United, at its new home, First Tennessee Park.