NASHVILLE – Cue the confetti.
2019 has come to a close, and Nashville SC is entering 2020 at full steam. From major announcements to legendary parties, the club took full advantage of this year to lay a solid foundation for its inaugural Major League Soccer season. There’s a lot of work left to do before NSC’s MLS debut on Feb. 29, but 2019 set the tone for what’s to come. On our final day of the decade, here’s a look back at the year’s best moments for soccer in Music City.
New League, New Look
In February of 2019, Nashville SC was already setting new standards for the league. The club unveiled its next-level branding with a uniquely-Nashville party that kept the city’s musical roots at the forefront of the celebration. The night made waves with celebrity guests including Fox Sports reporter Sara Walsh and local talent Lindsay Ell, The Weeks and Judah and the Lion. With a fresh set of colors and new branding, NSC headed into 2019 with high expectations eager to be met.
Soccer & music. It was definitely a Nashville Party ⚽️🎸🎉 pic.twitter.com/MozKOlkeMQ— Nashville SC (@NashvilleSC) February 21, 2019
Gary Smith Named Inaugural Head Coach
Just two weeks after its brand reveal on March 6, 2019, Nashville SC announced that 2010 MLS Cup Champion Gary Smith would lead the team into its new era as its first MLS head coach. In the words of club CEO Ian Ayre, “We need someone who understands the nuances of the U.S. game, someone that has experience of working with domestic and international players, someone with a history of developing young talent, someone who believed in our vision for the club and most importantly someone who is a winner. Gary fits that bill perfectly.”
Hany Mukhtar Announced as First Designated Player
August 2019 rolled around and Nashville SC continued its mission to build a cohesive and competitive inaugural roster for 2020. With five players under contract with the club’s MLS side, Music City welcomed German youth international Hany Mukhtar as its sixth signing and first-ever designated player. Excitement surrounding the roster was at an all-time high as Mukhtar made his first trip to Nashville and toured his new city in style.
Nashville SC Academy Launches Club’s Bright Future
Over Thanksgiving weekend, Nashville SC Academy made history as the Boys U-12 squad suited up for the 2019 Generation adidas Cup in Atlanta. Twelve players from several regional clubs came together for the first time to represent Tennessee at the highest level of youth soccer. The tournament’s results including a 1-0 win over Minnesota United Academy established a solid base for the program’s bright future and gave Academy Director Jamie Smith plenty to praise.
Representing our club and our state.— Nashville SC Academy (@NSCAcademy) December 4, 2019
Our U12 Boys made history this weekend at the Generation adidas Cup, and we're just getting started. Hear what Academy Director Jamie Smith said about our first tournament and what comes next. ⬇️#BandTogetherNSChttps://t.co/GTlWiXx40q
Nashville SC Builds 2020 Roster
Nashville ended 2018 with two players signed to MLS contracts, making forwards Daniel Ríos and Cameron Lancaster the roster’s trailblazers heading into 2019. Fast forward 12 months, and Nashville SC enters the new year with a total of 23 players. The construction started slow, but a wave of acquisitions in November saw the roster double in size. As the new year approaches, the club will head into January with a solid group of players who will all play a crucial role in establishing the foundation for Nashville SC’s inaugural season and beyond.
2020 will be filled with even more iconic moments for soccer in Music City. It all kicks off on Saturday, Feb. 29 as Atlanta United comes to town for Nashville SC’s MLS debut at Nissan Stadium. Don’t miss a second of the action this year, and download our inaugural season schedule here.