The Nashville Soccer Club has named its first head coach.
Officials confirmed MLS Cup-winning head coach Gary Smith has been selected to lead the professional club, which has been preparing for its first season in the United Soccer League in 2018.
The 48-year-old has been best known for winning the MLS Cup while coaching the Colorado Rapids in 2010. That’s when his team beat FC Dallas by a score of 2-1 in the final.
“It’s not every day that a club has the opportunity to land a coach with Gary’s talent, pedigree and experience,” said Nashville SC CEO Court Jeske. “He can take the reins more than a year before our first professional match and shape the roster and culture of this team.”
Smith has the distinction of being one of only five English coaches to win a top-flight trophy outside of England. He’s a native of Harlow, England.
“I have been involved in soccer all of my life, and this is a wonderful opportunity to build both the soccer culture and technical foundation of a club,” Smith said. “The fans and support throughout the city will be an integral element in our drive for success. To see how the team has been embraced is very exciting.”
Smith started his playing career at Arsenal before joining Fulham’s academy and eventually signing as a professional.
According to reports, Smith was injured and his career was cut short; however, his greatest playing time came with 66 appearances in 1990 through 1992 with the Wycombe Wanderers.
In England, Smith coached at Wimbledon, Wycombe, and Watford before he joined the Rapids as academy director for Arsenal FC.
Then for three seasons, Smith led the Rapids MLS team before moving to Stevenage in England’s League One. He was head coach in that league for two seasons, which qualified him for the League One playoffs in his first season.
Recently, he coached the Atlanta Silverbacks during their 2015 North American Soccer League campaign.
Smith has three children with his wife, Emma. They recently moved to Music City.
“My family and I have been sold on Nashville since the moment we arrived, and we’re happy to be putting down roots in the community,” Smith said.
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