NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Major League Soccer has dropped an anchor in Music City, and the new team in town is already changing the sports landscape.
What started as a pipe dream about a year ago ended December 20 as the city of Nashville came out of nowhere to earn a third professional sports franchise.
“If you were to say a year and a half ago we were getting an MLS squad, I would have laughed at you, but six months ago I started saying, ‘We’re in.’ I just saw the tremendous momentum behind the ownership group the passion of the ownership group and the passion from the fans and it all makes sense,” said soccer fan Kyle Mountsier.
“I think you heard the commissioner say that this time last year Nashville wasn’t even on the map, but because of all of the things we did, we came together as a city, working with the Metro Council working with a great ownership group, and also that we have great fans, they said wow Nashville is a soccer city,” said Mayor Megan Barry.
Not only is Nashville a soccer city, but combined with both the Titans and Predators, it’s now one of a kind.
“We will now be the only city with that combination, with both soccer, hockey, and professional football, so I think it just speaks well to Nashville. We continue to be that city on the rise,” said Mayor Barry.
With a new team being added, not only will it bring another chance for the city to get its first championship trophy, but soccer is an international sport that can bring a community closer together and give kids the chance to dream.
“The world doesn’t know that there are 75 to 80 languages spoken in this city, so it’s a very cultural very diverse city. You know, there are so many opportunities now for kids to play the game, play in a Nashville MLS academy, aspire to be a professional player for their USL team or there MLS team and create opportunities,” said MLS commissioner Don Garber.
With any new team, it’s not always easy starting from scratch. Take it from Titans legend Eddie George, who was instrumental in helping with the effort to bring soccer to Nashville.
He says he thinks it’s a unique opportunity for a fan base who’s been involved since the ground level.
“Having them be a part of the process is very key. Changing our names, changing the colors–they feel like they own it, but to have a homegrown opportunity such as this to really bring the people together, the city has the fan base for it the diversity,” said George.
While the city of Nashville continues to increase its sports profile, it’s the people that have made it all possible.
From the Predators Stanley Cup final run to what everyone hopes is the start of a successful soccer franchise, Music City is now on the international sports map and is seemingly here to stay.
“The minute we got off the plane, you feel the belief that everyone has here in the city, and it came together so quickly, which speaks to the energy and this can do attitude that exists. Our office is in New York, but I’m thinking of maybe getting an apartment here in Nashville,” Garber told News 2.
The new MLS team is scheduled to start playing in 2020, but there is a possibility they may actually start in 2019. Stay tuned to News 2 for that answer in the coming months.