Nashville is dreaming of the MLS, and many view the impending arrival of the USL’s Nashville SC as key to reaching a higher league.
It is not a secret that Nashville is positioning itself to be a contender for an MLS expansion franchise. A group that includes businessman and former state economic development official Bill Hagerty is trying to create a blueprint for the arrival of a franchise, and is looking to tap into the city’s soccer scene to build support for the effort.
That process received a boost a few months ago when DMD Soccer, the owner of Nashville SC, became a part of Hagerty’s push. Nashville SC is not slated to begin play until 2018, but the franchise has already made a move that could make it a major contributor to an MLS bid. More from The Telegraph:
A signal of Nashville SC’s intent was the appointment of former Soccer United Marketing official Court Jeske as the club’s first Chief Executive Officer.
It is not a coincidence that Jeske took the job after helping to arrange last month’s Mexico v New Zealand international friendly at Nissan Stadium, which drew more than 40,000 fans.
“I started working with the authorities in Nashville early this year and that brought me an introduction to Nashville SC and the owner David Dill,” Jeske told The Telegraph.
“I was really intrigued by the vision they had for Nashville SC, which was a supporter-driven club that was built for the community.
“The owners, who are local, want to create something that was fan-driven club which started in 2013 and evolve it into a professional one and ultimately join the ranks of MLS.
Nashville has also been on the MLS’ radar for other reasons. Friendlies in Nashville have drawn good crowds, community support for soccer has grown in recent years, and the city is among the most logical choices if the MLS decides to increase its presence in the Southeast.
The key to any effort is going to be a stadium, as Nashville SC has still not announced where it play. The Telegraph reports that officials are considering the possibility of a USL-sized stadium that could be expanded if the MLS does place a team in the city, while a temporary would house Nashville SC in 2018.
RELATED STORIES: Nashville SC Names Court Jeske CEO; Nashville SC Backs MLS Bid; Nashville FC Becomes Nashville SC; New for 2018: Nashville FC; MLS Supporters Lining up in Nashville; More Details of New Nashville USL Team Set for Next Week; USL Makes First Move for Nashville Pro Soccer; NASL, USL Pitch Nashville Pro Soccer Expansion