John Ingram has purchased the majority stake in Nashville SC, effectively combining the efforts of the city’s upcoming USL franchise with its MLS expansion bid.
In a transaction announced on Thursday, Ingram purchased the majority stake of DMD Soccer, the group that owns Nashville SC. Nashville SC is already a major component in the city’s soccer future, as it is set to debut in the USL next year. However, it could now have a stronger role in Nashville’s push for an expansion franchise, as Ingram is leading the city’s pursuit of an MLS club.
“Our effort to bring Major League Soccer (MLS) to Nashville and the mission of DMD Soccer are now jointly committed to elevate and expand professional soccer in Music City,” Ingram said in a statement. “We plan to give Nashville SC fans an exceptional soccer experience, starting with this season’s debut of the [Nashville SC U23 amateur team], which will lead to a successful debut in the USL as we continue to grow the game in Nashville at every level.”
“John Ingram has a long history supporting sports in Nashville,” David Dill, who has led the Nashville SC investor group that also includes Marcus Whitney and Chris Redhage, said in a statement. “He will be a driving force in Nashville SC’s ownership group as we move our vision forward, which is to provide professional soccer to the region’s passionate fans. Nashville SC has grown from the grassroots, and now John’s commitment speaks volumes about the future of soccer in Nashville and helps Nashville SC grow while unifying soccer interests in our city.”
Having the MLS bid and USL franchise connected could lay the groundwork for a solid organization. Going forward, however, stadiums plans will need to be a major priority. Nashville SC has not confirmed where it will play its home games, and there are still some unanswered questions as to how an MLS stadium in Nashville will be funded. More from The Tennessean:
Tops on the to-do list for Nashville’s group: secure a financing plan from Mayor Megan Barry’s administration for a new soccer stadium at Nashville’s Metro-owned fairgrounds. Barry has said she wants to bring MLS soccer to the fairgrounds, but she’s not gone into details about financing, only saying the goal is a “private-public partnership.”
Nashville SC will play in the USL, which is one tier below MLS. The team last month announced the hiring of Gary Smith, who led the Colorado Rapids to the 2010 MLS Cup championship, as its head coach.
It is still unclear where Nashville SC will play its home games. The team’s PDL club, Nashville SC U23, has announced it will play at Vanderbilt Stadium on the campus of Vanderbilt University.
Ingram and his group formally submitted Nashville’s expansion bid in January. The city is one of 12 contenders for four expansion spots.
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