Nashville Soccer Club 2018 season preview

Nashville SC head coach Gary Smith (right).

The Nashville Soccer Club’s inaugural debut as part of the United Soccer League (USL) is on the horizon and very eagerly anticipated. The full 2018 schedule is set and the season opener is less than a month away. Under Head Coach Gary Smith, a native of Harlow, England, the Nashville SC plans to kick into high gear in the Nashville stratosphere. Coach Smith has found success on and off of the field in the past, leading the Colorado Rapids to win the 2010 MLS Cup. In doing so, Smith became the first English coach to win the MLS Cup Championship.

The USL is a sanctioned Division II Professional League, placing it under Major League Soccer (Division I) in soccer hierarchy. Nashville SC will play the standard 34 league games, 17 home and 17 away, all against Eastern Conference opponents. To start the season, five of the first seven league games are away games. The month of July will host four home games. Nashville SC will have 12 of 17 home matches on weekends, including 10 on Saturdays.

In their first game, NSC will don their blue and gold for a preseason exhibition match in Atlanta against Atlanta United FC on February 10. Fans can then look forward to the first home match on March 24th against the Pittsburgh Riverhounds at First Tennessee Park, also home field to the Nashville Sounds Triple-A baseball club.

First Tennessee Park, adjacent to Nashville’s ‘new’ German Town, is an optimal location for the Nashville SC while still in its infancy. Nashville has flirted with the idea of becoming a soccer town for a number of years now. Many Nashville sports fans are anxious to add soccer to Nashville’s list to join professional football and hockey. The cultural impact will be something to keep an eye on for those looking for more of an international flare.

The African American and Latino community’s support will also be instrumental in launching the Nashville SC into the cultural spotlight. Excitement alone will not be enough for the NSC to thrive. The team has already announced a partnership with the Nashville Youth Soccer League. What’s yet to be seen is how they will market themselves to the generation of millennials that are the movers and shakers of Nashville’s social and sports scenes.

Two thousand eighteen will be very exciting for Nashville soccer fans. The Nashville SC will offer something new that the city is eager to embrace in establishing itself as a true sports city. Soccer, traditionally a sport that intersects culturally is a great fit for Nashville, a growing melting pot of cultural diversity.

For the schedule and ticket availability go to nashvillesc.com.