Could Soccer Be Nashville's Next Obsession?

Posted at 5:35 PM, May 08, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-08 18:58:00-04

With each person who moves to Nashville and each skyscraper that goes up, Music City has become more desirable for professional soccer leagues that see Nashville as a growing market. 

Both the United Soccer League (USL) and North American Soccer League (NASL) have expressed interest in bringing a team to Nashville, and discussions have begun with city officials, who said prior to a stadium being built, a team could play at Ted Rhodes Park. 

"It's just natural that the pro leagues want to come here," Kyle Roelke, head coach of Nashville FC, said. 

Nashville FC has been part of the National Premier Soccer League, and while the team has been filled with amateur players, the organization is ran as a professional team. 

"The level's extremely high, and I think when people come out and see the product that they'll really like it," Roelke said. 

Nashville FC has only been around for three years, but in that time, they've made a splash, exhibiting high-level soccer with some of the country's top talents through the summer at Vanderbilt Stadium. 

"The last two years, we've been very good," Roelke explained. "I think this year, we'll be better." 

While Nashville FC is in an amateur league, it's operated like a professional team, and the players know they're in Nashville to work.

"I think the sky's the limit with the group we have here," Nick Melville, center midfielder for Nashville FC said. 

This has been Melville's first year with the team, and after only one preseason game, which Nashville FC won 1-0, Melville knows that Nashville is a special place for soccer.

"They love their sports here," Melville said. "I think we can give a lot back toward the sport."

Nashville FC faithful have shown up to every game at Vanderbilt football stadium wearing jerseys and waving flags, and Roelke said that's why they play the game.

"Everything we do is about our fans, we wouldn't have a club if it weren't for them," Roelke explained. "We've tried to do everything the right way and represent the city the right way, and I think we'll continue to do that." 

Nashville FC's next preseason game have been scheduled for Saturday, May 14 at 7 p.m.

For more details, you can visit their website by clicking here.

Here are statements from representatives for NASL and USL:

"We absolutely believe Nashville would be a great fit for the NASL. It's home to a robust soccer community, and it has a reputation for being an excellent sports city. We feel that there would be a lot of support, and you see that already with Nashville FC."

"Nearly six years ago the USL embarked on a mission to create the most sophisticated, best operated and most competitive soccer league under MLS and has achieved that mission with a deliberate business plan that includes expansion. The USL has interest in Nashville and has identified the city as a vibrant market with considerable interest in soccer. The USL has more than doubled in size since 2014 and has three significant principles when evaluating a potential expansion city and its' investors-- strong local ownership, plans for a soccer-specific stadium and sound short- and long-term business plans - that will position the team and the league for long-term success.”