USL Expanding to Nashville in 2018

USL Nashville

by ANTHONY J. MERCED

USL has officially awarded an expansion team to the city of Nashville and will start operations in the 2018 season.

The local ownership group DMD Soccer will own and operate the team and will host a public event in mid-June to unveil the team’s overall vision. DMD Soccer is comprised of of prominent and local Nashville business investors including David Dill (LifePoint Health), Marcus Whitney (Jumpstart Foundry) and Christopher Redhage (ProviderTrust).

“It’s an incredible opportunity to bring professional soccer to Nashville, and I am excited to partner with the USL, Marcus and Chris to make this vision a reality,” said Dill in the official USL press release.

“We are very proud and excited to welcome Nashville to the USL and look forward to a very rewarding partnership with David, Marcus, Christopher and the entire DMD Soccer team,” said Alec Papadakis, CEO of the USL. “We have long identified Nashville as a USL destination due to its economic vibrancy and growing millennial and international populations. DMD Soccer group met all of our tenets of strong local ownership groups, achievable  soccer-specific stadium plans, and a passionate soccer fan base.”

Nashville has been one of the soccer hotbeds sought after by several investors in the lower divisions of American soccer. Earlier this year, the US Women’s National Team drew over 25,000 to Nissan Stadium and before that, nearly 45,000 for the Men’s team when they played Guatemala last July.

The inclusion of Nashville in the 2018 season will mean that the league has expanded to 31 teams with potential growth still possible if the Austin Aztex return to the fold. Several teams, including Arizona United SC and Sacramento Republic FC, have made it known that their intentions are to move up to MLS at some point in the future so expectations are that the number of teams will continue to fluctuate in the coming years.