Aníbal Godoy Photo Shoot, 12.16.19

Roster Round-Up: Nashville SC's Current MLS Squad

TAKE A LOOK AT THE 23 PLAYERS CURRENTLY SIGNED TO NASHVILLE SC'S INAUGURAL ROSTER

NASHVILLE – Nashville Soccer Club’s inaugural MLS roster is almost set.

In the past few weeks, Nashville SC has added over a dozen players to its roster, bringing the total number of signed players up to 23. Most recently, the club added Colombian youth international Miguel Nazarit on Monday, Dec. 16.

In case you missed the flurry of activity in the last few weeks, take a look at all of the players signed so far and what they could bring to Nashville SC in 2020.

Nashville SC Roster (Click to jump)

Daniel Ríos
Cameron Lancaster
Derrick Jones
David Accam
Aníbal Godoy
Hany Mukhtar
Randall Leal
Dax McCarty
Dave Romney
Abu Danladi
Jalil Anibaba
Jimmy Medranda
Joe Willis
Adrian Zendejas
Daniel Lovitz
Ken Tribbett
Taylor Washington
Matt LaGrassa
Alan Winn
Eric Miller
Dominique Badji
Brayan Beckeles
Miguel Nazarit

 

Name: Daniel Ríos
Position: Forward
Signed: Nov. 20, 2018
Nationality: Mexico
Age: 24
Previous Club: Nashville SC (USL Championship)
Gary Smith Says: “That ability that Daniel has to be difficult to play against adds that X-factor in front of goal. The ability to continually work defenders defensively and put them under pressure, winningthe ball in more advanced areas certainly helps him score more goals. He’s also capable of creating goals on his own and not just being supplied by others.”

Ríos has already done what he came to Nashville to do – score goals. As the club’s first-ever MLS signing, the six-foot forward joined the team during its 2019 USL Campaign where he set a league record as the first player to have back-to-back 20 goal seasons. In addition to being named the team MVP, Ríos was the highest scorer in the Eastern Conference and has proven time and time again why he earned a spot on Nashville’s competitive MLS side. Read more.

 

Name: Cameron Lancaster
Position: Forward
Signed: Dec. 20, 2018
Nationality: England
Age: 27
Previous Club: Nashville SC (USL Championship)
Mike Jacobs Says: “His instincts around the goal, coupled with his unique ability to finish during the run of play and on set pieces, makes him someone the opposition has to constantly be worried about.”

There’s a reason Lancaster is a two-time USL Championship Winner. No player in the league has scored more goals in a single season than the former Louisville City FC striker. In 2018, he netted 26 goals in purple, and brought his unique skill set to Nashville for the 2019 USL Championship season. After battling a few lingering injuries and welcoming his first child to world during the season, Lancaster capped off the campaign with six goals scored in 18 games played. Though his goal total was lower than in years past, he’s proven to be a constant threat to any team’s backline every time he steps onto the pitch. Read more.

 

Name: Derrick Jones
Position: Midfielder
Signed: May 9, 2019
Nationality: USA and Ghana
Age: 22
Previous Club: Philadelphia Union
Gary Smith says: “Derrick epitomizes the modern central midfielder. He’s a terrific athlete and covers the ground immensely well. He is technically very efficient, creative, chips in with a few goals and is very competitive. The fact that he’s 22 years old means that we have plenty of time to be with Derrick and to really mature his game.”

In trading Philadelphia Union for Jones, Nashville SC received a bright up-and-comer with both youth national team experience and the ability to start with the club right away. After signing in early 2019, Jones joined Nashville on loan for its 2019 USL Championship season. The midfielder was unfortunately injured during a U.S. Open Cup match in May 2019, but made a full recovery after surgery and became a super sub in the final stretch of the season. Most notably, Jones netted a valiant last-minute goal against the Charleston Battery in the club’s first-ever home playoff match to lock in a 3-1 victory. Read more.

 

Name: David Accam
Position: Forward
Signed: May 16, 2019
Nationality: Ghana
Age: 29
Previous Club: Columbus Crew
Gary Smith says: “David is a very exciting player. He has exceptionally good pace; he’s shown throughout his career that he’s a good creator, able to get himself on the score sheet and be a difference-maker in front of goal. He is an incredibly exciting player for the club to have landed.”

Accam is a proven-goal scorer with a solid amount of MLS experience. With 38 career goals in MLS, the Ghanaian international has been on four different teams in the last five years. He began with the Chicago Fire, where he scored 33 goals and provided 15 assists alongside Nashville SC teammate Dax McCarty. After spending the beginning of 2018 with the Philadelphia Union, Accam was traded to Columbus in May. He also brings international experience to the group, appearing in nine matches for his native Ghana including a runner-up finish at the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations. Read more.

 

Name: Aníbal Godoy
Position: Midfielder
Signed: Aug. 7, 2019
Nationality: Panama
Age: 29
Previous Club: San Jose Earthquakes
Gary Smith says: “I can’t say enough about how pleased I am to have him in the group. I think in terms of the abilities that he brings, he’s got absolutely everything you could want from a midfield player. He’s a big frame and an imposing looking individual. He’s got great technique, but he’s also capable of creating and scoring goals.”

Godoy brings over a decade of professional soccer experience to the club’s inaugural roster. The 29-year-old started his professional career at just 16 years old in 2007 and has been a mainstay for Panama including three appearances in the 2018 FIFA World Cup. He’s played for the Earthquakes since 2015 and is routinely ranked amongst the league’s passing percentage leaders. In the 2018 season with San Jose, Godoy was one of MLS’ best central and defensive mids with at least 20 appearances in successful dribbles per match (1st), interceptions per match (5th), accurate long balls (3rd) and drawing fouls per match (1st). Read more.

 

Name: Hany Mukhtar
Position: Midfielder
Signed: Aug. 27, 2019
Nationality: Germany
Age: 24
Previous Club: Brøndby IF
Mike Jacobs says: “Adding a creative player like Hany is a huge coup. His ability to create and finish scoring chances offers our club a versatile attacking weapon who will fit naturally within the group we are putting together.”

Mukhtar made history as the club’s first-ever Designated Player signing. He’s a dynamic midfielder whose versatility allows him to play both centrally and out wide. He made his top tier debut at just 18 years old against Bayern Munich while with Hertha BSC in 2013. Over the last three years with Brøndby IF, he’s scored 28 goals and made 36 assists and was most notably named the SuperLiga Player of the Year in the 2017/2018 season. Mukhtar represented his country at the youth level, scoring 20 goals in 48 caps for Germany. Read more.

 

Name: Randall Leal
Position: Midfielder
Signed: Sept. 6, 2019
Nationality: Costa Rica
Age: 22
Previous Club: Deportivo Saprissa
Mike Jacobs says: “Randall is an exciting young attacking midfielder with bags of potential. He has the ability to influence matches in a variety of ways and has demonstrated that caliber on both the domestic and international stage.”

Nashville SC added another up and comer to its roster with its seventh MLS signing of Leal. The young midfielder is a mainstay for his native Costa Rica after making his senior team debut in 2018 and is known for his speed and service. He’s already been called up for several matches with Los Ticos this year, most recently starting against Haiti on Nov. 17, 2019. Leal currently plays in Costa Rica’s Primera División Apertura for Deportivo Saprissa where in 2018, he made 38 appearances with six goals and six assists in his first season with the club. Read more.

 

Name: Dax McCarty
Position: Midfielder
Signed: Nov. 12, 2019
Nationality: USA
Age: 32
Previous Club: Chicago Fire
Mike Jacobs says: “Dax is a proven leader and winner and has done so in every club he’s been in throughout his career. He embodies the character and values of what our club will be on and off the field.”

Fan-favorite McCarty is one of the most tenured players on Nashville’s current roster. With 361 regular season appearances since 2006, the midfielder brings leadership after several years in the captain’s armband in Chicago. He started his MLS career with FC Dallas and has since played for D.C. United, New York Red Bulls and most recently the Fire. The 32-year-old is a two-time Supporters’ Shield winner with the Red Bulls in 2013 and 2015, an MLS Best-XI player (2015) and a two-time MLS All-Star (2015, 2017). Read more.

 

Name: Dave Romney
Position: Defender
Signed: Nov. 12, 2019
Nationality: USA
Age: 26
Previous Club: LA Galaxy
Mike Jacobs says: “Dave’s combination of athleticism and decision-making on both sides of the ball, coupled with being naturally left-sided, made him someone that we appreciated very early on in this process. We believe that he is someone that could really flourish in our system with both a consistent role and a regular run of games.”

Signed on the same day as teammate McCarty, Romney makes his mark on the club by becoming its first-ever defensive MLS signing. The 26-year-old comes to Nashville after four seasons with the LA Galaxy where he made 132 total appearances over the years. A native of California, Romney made his international debut with the U.S. U23 Men’s National Team on Nov. 15, 2015 in a friendly against Brazil. Read more.

 

Name: Abu Danladi
Position: Forward
Signed: Nov. 19, 2019
Nationality: Ghana
Age: 24
Previous Club: Minnesota United
Gary Smith says: “Up front, Abu symbolizes something that I think all teams need. He stretches the game, he’s very positive and very aggressive. He had a breakout season in his first year…I’m sure he’s hungry to try and get back on track and be a real star in MLS because he has all the credentials of one.”

Nashville SC wasted no time in selecting Danladi as club owner John Ingram announced his name in the first round of the 2019 Expansion Draft. The striker was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2017 MLS SuperDraft and has spent the entirety of his professional career with Minnesota United. He has totaled 69 appearances for the Loons and netted eight goals in his rookie campaign. He and fellow Ghanaian David Accam both graduated from the Right to Dream Academy in Africa. Danladi played collegiately at UCLA. Read More.

 

Name: Jalil Anibaba
Position: Defender
Signed: Nov. 19, 2019
Nationality: USA
Age: 31
Previous Club: New England Revolution
Mike Jacobs Says: “Jalil is someone when we first started this process, was someone that we had earmarked as a player we thought was very important for us to have. The fact that he’s played anywhere across the backline in a back four and back three, even though he is naturally a right centerback, I think that’s really important for us. But off the field, Jalil is on the short list of best teammates I have ever been around, and I think his leadership skills and his interpersonal skills are going to be critically important for a first-year team. I think you find the best teams in the league that have come through expansion teams are built around people like Jalil.”

Anibaba is another MLS veteran starting his tenure with Nashville SC in 2020, joining the club after being drafted with the third pick in this year’s Expansion Draft. Anibaba, who has spent time at both fullback and center back throughout his career, comes to Nashville from New England Revolution, where he spent two years. He bounced around the league for a few years, spending time on the Chicago Fire, Seattle Sounders FC, Sporting Kansas City, Houston Dynamo, and New England, making a total of 219 appearances. Anibaba was drafted ninth overall in the 2011 MLS SuperDraft after playing collegiately at Santa Clara and University of North Carolina. Read More.

 

Name: Jimmy Medranda
Position: Defender
Signed: Nov. 19, 2019
Nationality: Colombia
Age: 25
Previous Club: Sporting Kansas City
Gary Smith Says: “Jimmy [Medranda], his versatility at that left side, whether it be at left back or left midfield, but there will be individuals who say he’s better inside in central midfield. I do think that there needs to be an area for him to really focus on. That’s part of our challenge and Jimmy’s challenge.”

Jimmy Medranda joins Nashville SC as the club’s final pick in the MLS Expansion Draft. Medranda, who has spent time at full back as well as defensive midfield, has spent his entire career with Sporting Kansas City since his debut back in 2013. He has made 96 total appearances and 64 starts for SKC and was nominated for the AT&T MLS Goal of the Year in 2018. Medranda is a Colombian native and started his career for Deportivo Pereira in Colombia. Read More.

 

Name: Joe Willis
Position: Goalkeeper
Signed: Nov. 19, 2019
Nationality: USA
Age: 31
Previous Club: Houston Dynamo
Mike Jacobs Says: “I think it’s pretty easy to see we placed a high value on guys having extensive experience in MLS. What Joe has done throughout his career in the league, in U.S. Open Cup and in CONCACAF Champions League gives him experience that’s really important for a first-year team to have.”

Nashville went into the Expansion Draft in need of a goalkeeper, and they got one in veteran keeper Joe Willis. Willis, who has spent his last five seasons with Houston Dynamo, has made 113 career appearances and 352 career saves. Willis became the full-time starter for Houston in 2018, and won the U.S. Open Cup with the club that same year. This was the second time Willis won the U.S. Open Cup, with the first dating back to his tenure with D.C. United in 2013. Willis played collegiately at University of Denver. Read More.

 

Name: Adrían Zendejas
Position: Goalkeeper
Signed: Nov. 19, 2019
Nationality: USA
Age: 24
Previous Club: Sporting Kansas City
Gary Smith Says: . I think if you ask around the league, people can appreciate the potential that Adrían has as a shot stopper, dealing with crosses and his ability to play with his feet are outstanding. Adrían is someone that we all thought very strongly has a very bright future in the league, and whether that future is this season or into the following seasons, we just think he has a massive upside.”

Almost immediately following Mike Jacobs’s announcement of the team’s acquisition of Joe Willis, Jacobs announced a second signing at goalkeeper in the form of Zendejas. The 24-year old keeper has spent the last four years in the Sporting Kansas City organization, moving back and forth between the MLS club and the USL Championship affiliate, Swope Park Rangers. Zendejas had the best goals against average of all goalkeepers in his first season in the USL back in 2016, starting all four games in the Cup Playoffs before losing in the USL Final. He made his MLS debut in 2019 in a 1-1 draw at FC Cincinnati. Read More.

 

Name: Daniel Lovitz
Position: Defender
Signed: Nov. 19, 2019
Nationality: USA
Age: 28
Previous Club: Montreal Impact
Gary Smith Says: “Daniel Lovitz, as far as left backs go in this league and maybe I would even say around Europe and South America, Daniel is as good as any. He’s in the [USMNT] camp currently, he brings tremendous experience and of course incredible quality to that left back spot, which is where we see him.”

Lovitz was brought into Nashville via another transaction carried out by Mike Jacobs on the day of the Expansion Draft. The left back has played his entire professional career in Canada, first for Toronto FC and most recently for Montreal Impact, where he spent his last three seasons and won the Canadian Championship. Lovitz has made 125 appearances throughout his MLS career and has also made regular appearances with the United States Men’s National Team at left back. Lovitz is the first Nashville SC player to have played for the United States Men’s National Team. He played collegiately for Elon University. Read More.

 

Name: Ken Tribbett
Position: Defender
Signed: Nov. 22, 2019
Nationality: USA
Age: 27
Previous Club: Nashville SC (USL Championship)
Mike Jacobs Says: “us, we kind of thought that he would fit in with the guys we have in the back and felt would combine well and connect with the guys that we have here with him. I think his ability on both sides of the ball, as well as his ability to pass out of the back, I think will help him with the change in the speed of play and how drastically different it is.”

Ken Tribbett is one of four players signed from Nashville SC’s USL Championship squad in November. The 27-year-old center back made 26 appearances for Nashville SC in 2019, scoring four goals and notching two assists on the season. Before arriving in Nashville, Tribbett made his MLS debut for the Philadelphia Union back in 2016, where he was a regular starter. He picked up his first MLS goal in a 2-2 draw against Orlando City. Tribbett played collegiately at Drexel University. Read More.

 

Name: Taylor Washington
Position: Defender
Signed: Nov. 22, 2019
Nationality: USA
Age: 26
Previous Club: Nashville SC (USL Championship)
Mike Jacobs Says: “Taylor is somebody who can cover for us on the left flank, both as a left back at left midfielder/winger in a pinch. I feel he’s pretty versatile as far as left-sided players go. Athletically, that’s always been a strength of his. His ability to get up and down the line is something that first got him drafted into MLS. I would say in Taylor’s case and in Ken’s case, I think they’re both much more equipped to be in the league now than when they first came to the league [with the Philadelphia Union].”

Taylor Washington is another former member of Nashville SC’s USL Championship squad making the jump to MLS. Washington made 128 USL appearances over his four years in the league after being selected 23rd overall in the 2016 MLS SuperDraft by the Philadelphia Union. Washington played collegiately at Boston University as well as George Mason University. Read More.

 

Name: Matt LaGrassa
Position: Midfielder
Signed: Nov. 22, 2019
Nationality: USA
Age: 26
Previous Club: Nashville SC (USL Championship)
Mike Jacobs Says: “You think about his versatility: the fact that Matt was versatile enough to play a variety of roles in midfield. Athletically, he’s fantastic and will cover a lot of ground – he chews up ground out there. You’d probably find his data as far as distance coverage per match will probably support that. I think the combination of those things, plus how hard he plays: his intensity, his drive, I think fit perfectly with the NSC DNA of kind of who we are: I think he best fits that, and I think he’s somebody that can provide depth at many different midfield roles for us.”

LaGrassa joins Nashville SC after four years in the USL Championship, most recently playing for Nashville SC’s USL team. The midfielder made 107 appearances during his time in the league, spending time with Reno 1868, Sacramento Republic, and Tulsa Roughnecks along the way. He scored five goals over the past two seasons for Nashville SC. LaGrassa played collegiately at Cal Poly University. Read More.

 

Name: Alan Winn
Position: Forward
Signed: Nov. 22, 2019
Nationality: USA
Age: 23
Previous Club: Nashville SC (USL Championship)
Mike Jacobs Says: “Alan took quite a gamble from a standpoint of being Colorado’s top draft pick in the 2018 MLS SuperDraft. Rather than signing with them in preseason, he left preseason there to come here with us. It was quite a gamble from his standpoint, and I appreciate people who gamble on themselves. I think Alan came here, he demonstrated that he can do the things that Gary’s going to ask of wide players. For us, Alan was someone that we thought pretty early on in this process, distinguished himself as maybe someone who could jump to MLS.”

Alan Winn will try to replicate his success in the USL during Nashville’s expansion season, joining the club via Nashville SC’s USL team. The 23-year-old forward played just two seasons in the USL Championship, making 57 appearances and scoring seven times with seven assists. Winn was originally selected with the 25th overall pick in the 2018 MLS SuperDraft by the Colorado Rapids before eventually signing with Nashville SC. He played collegiately for the University of North Carolina. Read More.

 

Name: Eric Miller
Position: Defender
Signed: Nov. 26, 2019
Nationality: USA
Age: 26
Previous Club: New York City FC
Mike Jacobs Says: “Eric was a very well-thought-of youth international having played with the U.S. U-18s and U-20s. He was the equivalent of a lottery pick out of college with Montreal Impact. He was the Rapids Defender of the Year in 2017. For us, having someone similar to Jalil from the standpoint of being able to play across the backline in any of the four roles, and having someone who has been a write-in right back over the course of his career was really important to us.”

Eric Miller joins Nashville SC after being selected in Stage 1 of the 2019 MLS Re-Entry Draft. The 26-year-old defender has spent the past six seasons in MLS, most recently for New York City FC after they acquired him from Minnesota United in the middle of the 2019 season. Miller has 115 MLS appearances under his belt, earning the 2017 Colorado Rapids Defensive Player of the Year. He has also made appearances with the United States U23 Men’s National Team as well as the U.S. Men’s National Team. Miller played collegiately at Creighton. Read More.

 

Name: Dominique Badji
Position: Forward
Signed: Dec. 2, 2019
Nationality: Senegal
Age: 27
Previous Club: FC Dallas
Mike Jacobs Says: “When you look at what Dom did prior to his trade with Dallas, he scored 16 goals in a season and a half with Colorado. That was only 18 months ago. He went from playing a very key role in Colorado’s attack to then going to Dallas and kind of being shuffled around a little bit as a starter and a reserve, centrally and wide, and I think what Dominique has shown is that when he’s in games in a role that he’s comfortable with, he’s an absolute threat to create scoring chances for himself and for others.”

Badji joins Nashville SC via trade from FC Dallas, giving the team another forward with ample MLS experience. Badji has made 129 career appearances, scoring 32 goals and notching 16 assists in the process. The 27-year-old Senegal native will be reunited with Eric Miller, whom he played alongside in Colorado for more than two seasons. In that time, Badji scored a hat trick against Philadelphia, just months before being traded to FC Dallas. Badji played collegiately for Boston University. Read More.

 

Name: Brayan Beckeles
Position: Defender
Signed: Dec. 4, 2019
Nationality: Honduras
Age: 34
Previous Club: CD Olimpia (Honduras)
Mike Jacobs Says: “I think you’ve seen a number of players that come from Liga MX into MLS and have translated really well. I think you think about expectations, for us to see the success he’s had playing there, playing on a team like Olimpia who always does well in CONCACAF Champions League playing in Honduras. I really watched him play in his national team in World Cup and Gold Cup competition, we felt pretty strongly that Brayan has abilities on the field that will mesh really well with our team, and also off the field he’s been a good leader as well.”

Beckeles makes the jump to MLS after spending this past season with CD Olimpia in Honduras. Prior to that, he was a standout for Club Necaxa in Liga MX in Mexico. In his four seasons with Necaxa, Beckeles played over 120 matches, scoring twice and pitching in with three assists as a right back. He also helped the club win the Copa MX and Supercopa MX in 2018. In addition to his vast club experience, Beckeles also has an international pedigree, earning 65 caps with Honduras’ National Team. He also earned three caps during the 2014 FIFA World Cup and was instrumental in helping Honduras qualify for the largest sporting event in the world. Read More.

 

Name: Miguel Nazarit
Position: Defender
Signed: Dec. 16, 2019
Nationality: Colombia
Age: 22
Previous Club: Once Caldes (Colombia)
Mike Jacobs Says: “Miguel is a talented central defender who has gained outstanding experience playing in the top-flight in Colombia. His combination of athleticism and 1 v 1 defending makes him someone who has the potential to be a key contributor in our team.”

Nashville SC acquired another young up and coming player to the roster in Nazarit. The 22-year-old center back from Colombia made his professional debut at just 19 for CD Once Caldas, becoming a mainstay in the lineup and scoring a game-winning 90th minute goal against Cortuluá. In addition to his club experience, he has also become a fixture with the Colombian U-23 squad. Nazarit recently competed with the U-23s in July, and he could get called up again to the CONMEBOL Pre-Olympic Tournament in January. The tournament will determine which men’s U-23 squads will represent the South American region at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan. Nazarit will look to continue his early success in his move to Nashville, where he’ll help anchor an already veteran back line. Read More.