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Nashville SC Leaps Up to the Major Leagues in Music City

by Rich and Laura Lynch

Nashville SC is a football club that began playing in 2018 in the United Soccer League but it was always a well-known fact that they would soon make the move to the top circuit in the land known as Major League Soccer. That momentous appointment finally arrived on February 29, 2020 before a raucous and enthusiastic record setting crowd of 59,069 fans who donned the team's colors of "electric-yellow" and "acoustic blue" and watched as their squad made a Leap Day jump to become the league's 25th franchise and fittingly mark the beginning of the 25th MLS season.

Nashville SC Leaps Up to the Major Leagues in Music City
It's game time and the long-awaited inaugural match kicked off in Music City.

Of course, it wouldn't be Music City without some high caliber entertainment to help get the ball rolling and kick off the festivities. Local rockers Judah and the Lion led the way with a 20-minute set that featured the emotional "Never Give Up On You" that serves as the official club anthem. Charles "Chip" Esten - who portrayed the fan favorite Deacon on the hit series "Nashville" - was on hand to sing the Star Spangled Banner. Last but not least Lzzy Hale demonstrated her hot licks during the Gibson Guitar Riff that was over in a flash. All of this effort and excitement was not lost on longtime MLS Commissioner Don Garber who greeted the media during an impromptu Q&A in the press box.

Nashville SC Leaps Up to the Major Leagues in Music City
Soccer players took center stage in Nashville and we all had a grand ole time.

"It's really spectacular. I've had a couple of new team openings in the last twenty years and this one kind of ranks, at least for me, as one of the most exciting," Garber gushed during his briefing still visibly moved by the response from Nashvillains to their new team. "I literally got chills during the pre-game ceremony and it kind of over-delivered. I noticed the whole lower level was standing the whole game so far which is interesting and exciting. Overall, it's a good night."

Nashville SC Leaps Up to the Major Leagues in Music City
The Nashville Roadies supporter section grew by leaps and bounds at Nissan Stadium.

As for the game, the relatively new home team with only a few holdovers from the previous USL season made a good accounting for themselves as they battled the defending MLS Champions and of course - the refs. A few curious calls and a non-stoppage of play helped the Atlanta United score a 2-1 victory in front of many of their supporters who made the three hour journey from Georgia to mark the opening salvo in what will surely become a natural regional and heated rivalry in the sweltering south. In a post game interview Coach Gary Smith was understandably subdued and saddened to come away empty but was also optimistic about his team's chances to succeed moving forward in the inaugural 2020 campaign.

Nashville SC Leaps Up to the Major Leagues in Music City
Nashville SC celebrates their first goal as an MLS franchise.

If there was any doubt that Nashville would support professional soccer that was quelled by the queue of fans who lined up hundreds deep throughout the stadium's many merchandise booths once the Nissan stadium gates opened at 5:30. Hats, scarves and hoodies seemed to be doing a swift business on this night - and that makes sense as game time temperatures hovered in the 30's as attendees warmed up to the latest team vying for their affection in Mid-Tenn.

Nashville SC Leaps Up to the Major Leagues in Music City
MLS Commissioner Don Garber; Judah and the Lion; Charles Esten; Nashville SC Head Coach Gary Smith and Lzzy Hale helped kick things off in Music City.

It's hard to believe that we began covering professional football two dozen years ago when the NY/NJ Metrostars took on Alexi Lalas and the New England Revolution at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. On that day the home team lost 1-nil on a stunning "own goal" in the final seconds of the match. We then declared the "second coming of soccer" and put the Jesus-like bearded defender and hero of the pitch on the cover of our "Sports Map" magazine. So, it was quite rewarding to see that man back on the field in Nashville as an analyst for Fox Sports doing what he does best. That is, spreading the gospel of the beautiful game to a whole new generation of fans.

Nashville SC Leaps Up to the Major Leagues in Music City
Soccer hero Alexi Lalas - then and now in Nashville.

Related Links: For more information on NASHVILLE SC and the other organizations mentioned please visit the following links -- Nashville SC | Major League Soccer | Nashville SC Plant Their Flag | Nashville SC Steps Up to the Big Time


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