NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — After a pandemic-forced exodus that felt like 40 years in the wilderness, it was back to the promised land for the man they call Soccer Moses. Back in April, Soccer Moses triumphantly greeted fans for the first time since COVID-19 started.
“Good to see you guys,” said Stephen Mason, a.k.a Soccer Moses. “Do we hug? Are we hugging? Alright, we’re hugging. Bless you!”
At this point, Soccer Moses might be more recognizable and approachable than any player on the team. “What Soccer Moses embodies is about fellowship and about community and proximity,” said Mason.
This hobby of Stephen Mason started when he bought tickets for the first-ever Nashville SC game last year. He went viral for his sign “Let My People Goal.”
He sees the tunic and fake beard as a new testament to his old love of soccer. And while he’s supposed to be the prophet, his wife seems to be the prescient one. “My lovely British wife -- she was like -- are you ready to do this for the rest of your life? I said… maybe?” said Mason.
If the whole thing feels a little bit like a performance, it’s because Stephen Mason is used to being in the spotlight.
He’s also one-fourth of the Christian rock band, Jars of Clay. That’s what brought him to Nashville and every once and a while, takes him out of town to go back on the road for concerts. “A random rock n’ roll emergency as we like to call them,” said Mason.
But it’s been years since being a rock star was his day job. Lately, he’s traded his band for a different type of buzz.
“Does that feel short enough up top?” Mason asked one of his clients.
In the storage closet of a building owned by the band, he opened up The Handsomizer, a one-room barbershop. Mason says, he did this when he noticed that the band was starting to slow down. “It kind of tapered off at the same time as I was getting licensed,” he said.
What they lack in space, they make up for with depth of conversation. “A lot of barbering is making people feel comfortable and you know, especially a lot of men are horrible at self-care, so this is like one of their rare opportunities where they sit and go… sigh,” said Mason.
Just like Stephen’s other personas, his space is rich with personality, including several odes to Mario Kart and a picture of him sitting in the warm embrace of actor Tony Danza. “Hold Me Closer, Tony Danza -- that was some of my finer photoshop work,” said Mason with a smile.
But not even a prophet could have foreseen how great his barbershop’s location would be, just across the street from the new Nashville SC Stadium. All he’ll have to do is part Wedgewood Avenue to get to a game next year.
“When I start thinking about a year from now, I get giggly,” he said.
The funny thing is, few people know all three personas of Stephen Mason. “They are very segmented audiences, but the crossover is where the joy happens,” he said.
The more you talk to him, you quickly realize that the commandments of his life are to make people happy. And that’s the gospel truth.