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Nashville SC Begins a New Chapter with Historic Home Opener at GEODIS Park

by Rich and Laura Lynch

It's been a long time coming and a dynamic dream come true for the throngs of yellow clad supporters of the Boys in Gold. But, finally the followers of Nashville SC - this city's astonishingly good entry in the MLS circuit - had the chance to fervently root for their team from the confines of a brand new soccer-specific stadium when the opening match against the Philadelphia Union took place before a standing room only sell-out crowd of 30,109 on May 01, 2022.

GEODIS Park lived up to the advance billing in Nashville.

"It's not the fairy tale," Coach Gary Smith relayed in the post match press conference looking a bit down that his squad couldn't deliver a storybook victory on opening day. There was a lot of pressure on the Boys in Gold and even though the result was not the one hoped for there was a result none the less as the final score found each squad earning a point via the one-one draw. Perhaps the stadium and the fans were the big winners as Smith added, "But it was, I thought, an incredible atmosphere and a wonderful game."

Following stints playing on the Nashville Sounds baseball diamond and on the home turf of the Tennessee Titans, Nashville now has a state-of-the-art facility that they can call their "castle". Situated in the heart of the up-and-coming Wedgewood-Houston neighborhood, GEODIS Park is set to become one of the premier sports and entertainment destinations in the United States.

Nashville SC offensive star Hany Mukhtar was recently extended through the 2025 season.

The 30,000-seat stadium is the largest soccer-specific stadium in the United States and Canada, featuring a 360-degree canopy, a 65-foot-wide shared concourse and a safe standing supporter's section. With just 150 feet of distance between the last row of seats and the touchline. Advance billing proclaimed that GEODIS Park would provide an electric match day experience that would bring fans closer to the action than ever before. This promise proved 100 percent true on Game Day number one.

Opening day was billed like a live concert and why not - after all Nashville, Tennessee is also known as Music City. Of course, the main act was the Nashville Soccer Club versus the Philadelphia Union - a rematch from last year's MLS Playoffs. But, plenty of music was piped in prior to the game. As we walked around the concourse we spotted plenty of food and drink options. A few such as Rock N Dough Pizza had music related names and others were local favorites such as Cumberland Crafts, Daddy Dogs, Princes Hot Chicken and more.

There were sizable lines at the Team Stores even though there was already a sea of yellow taking in the sights and sounds at GEODIS Park. Merch of the Match was also available with these items having the potential to become collector items in the years to come.

Nashville SC defensive star Walker Zimmerman was recently extended through the 2025 season.

The National Anthem was played on violin by Jason Fitz (The Band Perry) and was followed by the now signature start to every game -Tommy Shaw of Styx was the first to perform the pre-match Guitar Riff at GEODIS Park. Shaw a champion in his field - helped Styx become the first band ever to achieve four multi-platinum selling albums in a row. All this occurred before the main event in which both teams worked hard to score but by break time it was still 0-0.

With just 150 feet of distance to the pitch - every seat at whatever price point should have a good view. The supporter section is sizable and they certainly added to the high energy of the match with chanting, drumming and flag waiving. Shared and private suites are available with many already accounted for by business sponsors. Even if you are not in a suite it is worth a look at the second tier as the walls there showcase works from local artists. Each has a QR code for information about it with an option to purchase. This is just another example of how this soccer team is supporting the surrounding neighborhoods.

The squad motto that is sung in their anthem before every match.

The post-match concert featured Judah & The Lion. As many know, this popular band collaborated with Nashville SC and The Backline to pen the official song of the team that doubles as an ode to soccer and community. The "Never Give Up On You" title reflects on the comradeship built around soccer, a sport known for uniting people from all walks of life, and Nashville, a community that always come together in support of one another. Judah received some heavenly help from Soccer Moses - who in a former life was known as Stephen Mason - the guitar player for Jars of Clay.

Nashville SC also reintroduced its "One Nashville Under Gold" flag. This project is a collection of images representing Nashville's diversity and symbolizing the club's motto - One Nashville Under Gold - as well as MLS' "Soccer for All" initiative. The banner will be out at each home game and will highlight the club's regional community partners, fans and supporters.

Tempo, coach Gary Smith, Tommy Shaw of Styx and that Bull Guy.

After the match, SC's Gary Neil Smith an English former footballer who serves as head coach spoke with the press. Commenting on the game he observed that Nashville was more aggressive in the first half but lost some of that flow in the second which allowed the formable Philadelphia Union to score the first goal. Luckily, around the 84th minute Randall Leal responded and Nashville tied the game.

Mr. Smith was very happy with the "great atmosphere", the "enveloping acoustics" and the crowd was "magnificent". Obviously, a win would have been better but it was a high pressure situation for the Boy in Gold as they opened a "new chapter" in the franchise's history but hope is high for a successful season.

Soccer Moses joined Judah & The Lion for a post-game concert.

There were a lot of plusses on opening day including the weather which was sunny and pleasant, however there are some logistical challenges that needs to be worked out with parking and exiting the venue. Hopefully, these issues will be addressed to enhance and ensure that the fan experience will equal the many positives that Nashville SC's new stadium has to offer.

Everything is now set in place to make a run for the elusive MLS Cup. Nashville SC recently locked in their offensive and defensive anchors - Hany Mukhtar and Walker Zimmerman respectively - with contract extensions through the 2025 season. Even Tempo, who some call the best mascot in the league has expanded his team by forming a new band called "Tempo and the Metro-Gnomes" who showed off their new lineup with some pre-game karaoke and the appropriately timed "Our House" by Madness.

With the club coming off a historic 2021 year in which it became the seventh team in MLS history to go unbeaten at home in a season and things are pointing to more great things up ahead for the squad and their fans. With a draw, the Boys in Gold look to extend their longest active home unbeaten streak in MLS at 18 matches dating back to Nov. 20, 2020. In 2022, Nashville SC's and GEODIS Park are giving the community a lot to cheer for. Welcome home!

A hard-fought rematch against last year's playoff rival resulted in a well-earned draw.

Related Links: For more information on NASHVILLE SC and the other organizations mentioned please visit the following links - Nashville SC | Nashville SC Soccer Is Something to Experience in Music City


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