PAIR GETTING FAMILIAR WITH TEAMMATES AND HEAD COACH GARY SMITH
NASHVILLE – Two days into training in the Music City, Nashville MLS signees Daniel Ríos and Cameron Lancaster are getting used to the January weather in Nashville, and more importantly, their teammates and coaching staff. Both are somewhat familiar with Nashville Soccer Club, each played against Nashville SC twice during the 2018 USL Championship season, but now they don the club’s crest, on loan from Nashville’s yet to be named MLS team.
“I am happy to be here,” said Ríos. “Everyone is kind and is helping me so it has felt great these two days here in Nashville, my new home and my new club.”
Lancaster echoed Ríos’ sentiment, “I am really enjoying it. It’s been hard work, but it’s the fitness we will need for what we want to achieve during the season. The boys have welcomed me really well and I’m just enjoying it.”
Coming from two completely different regions of the soccer globe, Ríos and Lancaster will always be linked by becoming the first two players signed by Nashville’s new MLS club. Both arrived this past weekend, Ríos coming in from his hometown of Guadalajara in Mexico and Lancaster from London, England. Now they are competing together in drills under Nashville SC head coach Gary Smith.
“He is a good coach,” said Ríos. “I understand the way he wants [the whole team] to play. It’s easy to understand what he wants from me and from my teammates.”
In Smith, Lancaster sees a familiarity, both are English and ironically enough, both have a tie to the Tottenham Hotspurs of the English Premier League. Lancaster came up through the Tottenham Academy and made his debut for the club as a 19-year-old. Smith’s family hails from the Tottenham area, with his dad, Roger, playing six year for the Spurs.
“He is similar to coaches I have had before, with English, Irish, European coaches,” said Lancaster. “I am used to that intensity and getting stuff done.”
While the affinity is being built between the pair and their new teammates, the Nashville weather hasn’t quite held up its end of the bargain. Ríos and Lancaster’s first day of training with the team was Wednesday, a mix of rain, wind and cool temps. While the sun was back out on Thursday, it was even colder.
For Lancaster, the weather is not too much better than what he experienced at this time last year in Louisville, Ky. or back home in England where the weather is notoriously wet. For Ríos, however, it is a stark change from the warm weather and routinely sunny skies of Guadalajara where it has been in the upper 70s this week.
“When the sun is up, it’s better for me,” joked Ríos.
While the sun is likely to remain inconsistent at best the rest of winter in Nashville, both Ríos and Lancaster are hoping it metaphorically shines bright on their 2019 Nashville SC season.