USMNT Qualifies For World Cup For First Time Since 2014

Pictured: USA fans at Nissan Stadium for the World Cup Qualifier between the USMNT and Canada. Photo: Courtesy of Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp.

For the first time in eight years, the United States Men’s National Team has qualified for the World Cup, finishing third in the CONCACAF World Cup Qualifiers.

On Wednesday night (March 30) the USMNT lost 2-0 to Costa Rica but, because of their large goal differential, Costa Rica needed to score six un-answered goals to take America’s place.

The USA joins Canada and Mexico as the confederations three automatic berths while Costa Rica will have to face New Zealand in a one-game playoff for the final World Cup spot.

“We’re really excited and really proud. It’s a lot of hard work and sacrifice that goes on behind the scenes and we couldn’t be happier to qualify with this group,” said USMNT captain and Nashville SC defenseman Walker Zimmerman in a postgame press conference. “Everyone’s made sacrifices and overcome adversity to end up here. Despite the loss, we put ourselves in that position to have a little bit of wriggle room. As a competitor, we’re not happy about the result, but at the end of the day we qualified for the World Cup and we’re going to celebrate that.”

Walker Zimmerman. Photo: Courtesy of Nashville SC

During the month of March, the U.S. picked up a key 0-0 draw against Mexico on the 24th to keep them in the top of the table. Then, on March 27 the team won a huge 5-1 matchup against Panama, increasing its goal differential.

“Being the youngest team in the world to qualify for the World Cup is no easy task,” added head coach Gregg Berhalter. “But we saw the resilience of the team, the strong mentality, and absolute focus to reach our goal. All in all we’re really proud of the guys and the way they competed throughout these 14 games.”

The U.S. has historically struggled when playing on Costa Rican soil. After Wednesday’s loss, the USA is 0-10-1 in qualifiers played in Costa Rica, with the only result coming in a 1-1 draw on May 26, 1985 in Alajuela. The USMNT is 19-17-6 all-time against Costa Rica and 7-12-3 vs. Los Ticos in qualifying.

Next up is the World Cup Draw in Qatar which will take place on Friday, April 1 at 11 a.m. CT. The U.S. is in pot two alongside Croatia, Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland, Uruguay and rival Mexico.

The 2022 Qatar World Cup group stage begins on Nov. 21 and the final will take place in Lusail, Qatar on Dec. 18.

Nashville Soccer Club Launches Nashville SC Community Fund

Nashville Soccer Club is launching the Nashville SC Community Fund, a charitable fund that will support local nonprofits, community organizations and projects in the Nashville area.

Housed at The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee, the NSC Community Fund will prioritize the support of organizations in Nashville with programs and initiatives that support youth engagement; health & well-being; and diversity, equity and inclusion.

“We are proud to launch the Nashville SC Community Fund which will enable us to make a deeper impact by investing in the work of our dedicated community organizations,” says Brandon Hill, Nashville SC’s Head of Community Engagement. “We designed the fund with input from our community partners and believe our impact areas reflect the values and goals of the city. We look forward to bringing new and exciting efforts to engage youth, promote diversity, inclusion and equity, and improve the community’s health and well-being to life through this fund.”

Nashville SC is committed to build up the fund through fundraising organized by the club and external donations from club partners, supporters and fans. The Nashville SC Fund will begin accepting proposals for funding in 2022.

The club also launched a web page dedicated to the Nashville SC Community Fund that features its nonprofit partners and allows fans to contribute to the Nashville SC Community Fund.

College Corner: Jerry Stackhouse, Lady Blue Raiders WNIT, Belmont Soccer

Vanderbilt’s Jerry Stackhouse Named Finalist For Ben Jobe Award

Jerry Stackhouse. Photo: Courtesy of Vanderbilt Athletics

Vanderbilt basketball head coach Jerry Stackhouse was named a finalist for the Ben Jobe award after a successful NIT run.

The Ben Jobe award is presented annually to the top Division I minority coach by College Insider. Stackhouse is one of 25 finalists for this year’s award.

This past season, Stackhouse guided the Commodores to 19 wins, the most since the 2016-17 season. Now in his third season, Vandy is the only SEC program to improve its NCAA net ranking in reach of the last three seasons.

Vanderbilt won two games at the SEC Tournament before earning an at-large bid to the NIT. The Dores capped the season in the NIT Quarterfinals after wins over Belmont and top-seeded Dayton in the first two rounds.

The winner of the award will be announced April 1 in New Orleans at the NCAA Final Four.



MTSU Women’s Basketball To Host Seton Hall In WNIT Semifinals

MTSU Lady Raiders. Photo: Emily Cole/MT Athletics

The Lady Raiders of Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) have punched their ticket to the WNIT semifinals for the first time in program history after a thrilling 73-71 overtime win against Toledo.

MTSU, now with a record of 27-7, will host Big East powerhouse Seton Hall in the semifinals on Thursday (March 31).

The intense and exciting Toledo matchup included 17 lead changes and 15 ties, with the largest lead for either team coming in at eight points in the first quarter. However, the Lady Raiders held strong, never trailing in overtime.

“Great, great game between two quality teams,” Lady Raider Head Coach Rick Insell said in a postgame press conference. “This was a great atmosphere and that’s what you expect when you reach this point of a postseason tournament. We knew it would take a great effort to come in here and win against a very good and well-coached Toledo team. I’m excited for our team and our fans, but I’m proud of how this team responded tonight.”

Middle Tennessee takes on the Pirates at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday. All tickets are general admission and can be purchased for $20 each.



Belmont Soccer Hires Cam Olsen As Assistant Coach

Belmont men’s soccer head coach David Costa has named Cam Olson as the program’s new assistant coach.

Olson comes to Belmont following a season at the Patriot League’s Bucknell University and brings four seasons of collegiate coaching experience to the Bruins.

“We want to welcome Cam and his wife, Katelynn, to Belmont,” says Costa. “We are thrilled to add someone of his character, quality and experience. Cam is a man of high character and will have a strong impact on our student-athletes and their experience at Belmont.”

On a collegiate coaching staff the past seven years, Olson spent the last six seasons with NCAA Division I men’s soccer programs, including Xavier and Vermont, in addition to Bucknell.

While on staff at Xavier, the program compiled 33 match wins and earned results against numerous ranked opponents. Xavier reached the Big East Conference Championship title match in 2017, was ranked in the national top 25, advanced to three consecutive Big East Championships and earned a United Soccer Coaches Team Academic Award for four-straight years. The Musketeers’ 2019 recruiting class was ranked seventh nationally by and Xavier rose to No. 11 in the nation.

Nashville Is All In On Hosting World Cup Games, But The Bid Is Far From Over

Nashville SC supporters section at Nissan Stadium. Photo: Courtesy of Nashville SC

With the 2022 World Cup less than a year away, the soccer world will soon turn its eyes to Qatar to watch some of the best players in the world play for glory.

The United States, Canada and Mexico will partake in the international soccer tournament when they host the World Cup in 2026. Many city’s are already set to host games, including New York, Los Angeles, Toronto and Mexico City. However, cities such as Nashville are still in the conversation to host a tournament game.

Bringing a World Cup game to Music City would be an absolute game-changer to the metropolitan area in regards to sports and major events. This isn’t the NFL Draft, NHL All-Star Game or CMA Fest. Rather, the World Cup is the biggest single event in the world and only happens once every four years.

A delegation of FIFA and Concacaf representatives recently toured the city’s facilities in September while looking at cities throughout the U.S. Nissan Stadium would be the host stadium but there are many other factors to look at.

Nissan Stadium. Photo: Courtesy of Nashville SC

In an interview with The Sports Credential, Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp. President Butch Spyridon shares that this bid has been one of the most difficult projects he and the NCVC have had.

“This is probably the hardest and deepest dive we’ve ever had to do,” Spyridon explains. “The level of detail [is astounding]. You have to consider things like sex trafficking, human rights, sustainability… all these things that nobody thinks about as a fan, casual observer or even media. The things they’ve asked us to report on or address is just mind blowing. We’ve learned a lot and we’re still in the hunt.”

In February, the NCVC released an economic impact report based on Nashville hosting four World Cup games. The report, which was prepared by William F. Fox, Director of the Boyd Center for Business & Economic Research at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, showed that the city could make $695 million in total economic impact. Nashville could see $639.3 million in economic impact from visitors, $205.6 million in income generated, 5,469 annualized jobs, and $66.1 million in state and local tax revenue.

“The attention Nashville receives from being thrust onto the world stage could offer much longer-term economic gains,” Fox noted in the press release. “Playing World Cup matches in Nashville would significantly enlarge the Tennessee economy. Longer term, hosting the event will increase tourism from around the world and dramatically expand the visibility of Nashville as a great place to visit and live.”

Nashville would benefit exponentially if they were to host a few World Cup games. An estimated 5,469 annualized jobs will come from hosting the World Cup, mostly in the leisure, hospitality, and retail sectors as establishments increase their staffs. An additional 200 annualized jobs will come from the World Cup operations and construction. Additionally, earnings for Tennessee workers would total $205.6 million, including from leisure, retail and hospitality jobs; construction; and stadium operations.

“This economic impact study underscores what a boom it would be for Nashville to host these World Cup matches,” added John Ingram, owner of Nashville SC. “It’s not only a chance for us to show the world what is so special about Nashville, but a way to channel the global interest in our city for the benefit of everyday Nashvillians.”

Ingram will also serve as the chairman of Nashville’s Local Organizing Committee if Music City earns a host spot for the FIFA World Cup.

USA fans at Nissan Stadium for the World Cup Qualifying match between USMNT and Canada. Photo: Courtesy of Nashville Convention & Visitor Corp.

Like any event, the World Cup is unique and has its own plans and ideas of what they want it to look like. While those at the NCVC may want to show off some of Nashville’s unique charms, they understand that it’s ultimately FIFA’s event.

“We go in understanding it’s their event,” Spyridon shares. “We let them know what we can do to make it unique, but we also let them know that we understand that it’s their event and that we are working for them. That served us really well with the NFL Draft and it taught us a lot.”

As of now, FIFA has been quiet in regards to its selection of host cities. All the while, Spyridon and his team have been working hard to prove to FIFA and the World Cup delegation that Nashville is a viable and profitable host option.

Though Nashville isn’t a lock city like New York, Miami or Los Angeles, there is confidence among Spyridon and his peers that their work speaks for itself.

“We would never say we’re a lock. We started the interview bid process assuming we’re in last place and with the intention to continue working to earn their trust, confidence and respect so that we could be considered. Until we know whether we’re in or out, we’re continuing to fight from what we assume is the last place position. Though I don’t think we’re a lock, I think we have a better shot than most would have us, so we’re in the hunt.

“Every time we do something we try to improve it and show whoever we’re talking to that we’re a major event city, even if we’re not a first tier, top-of-mind city for some of these groups.” he continues. “We’ve also learned to be true to who we are. We’re a pretty authentic, unique destination with a great campus for hotels, restaurants, and entertainment facilities. That didn’t happen by accident. It took a lot of people, planning, and discussion to keep it close together so it can become a selling point.”

Nashville SC Reaches 20,000 In Season Ticket Sales

GEODIS Park. Photo: Courtesy of Nashville SC

Just one week after naming its new stadium GEODIS Park, Nashville Soccer Club announces that it has sold 20,000 season tickets memberships.

In addition, the club announced that the C-Spire Captain’s Club is officially sold out. With it, less than 50 premium spaces remain available after the Goal Post Club, WeHo Club, Valkyrie Premier Club, Loge Boxes and private suites are all sold out at the 30,000-seat stadium.

“Today is yet another strong confirmation that soccer has truly made its mark in Nashville and Middle Tennessee,” says Nashville SC CEO Ian Ayre. “Reaching 20,000 season ticket members puts us in the top four or five MLS teams in that category, and we are clearly not done yet!

“Given that nobody has seen a match at GEODIS Park yet, I feel certain that when they come and experience soccer in this purpose-built stadium, they will want to come back on a regular basis and fill the stadium up. GEODIS Park is going to be a really special place for years to come,” he sums.

GEODIS Park is set to open on May 1 when the Boys in Gold face Philadelphia Union. The fairgrounds located park will be the largest soccer-specific stadium in the U.S. and Canada.

Nashville SC Announces GEODIS As Naming Rights Partner For New Stadium

Geodis Park. Photo: Courtesy of Nashville SC

With the opening of its brand new stadium less than two months away, Nashville Soccer Club has announced GEODIS as the naming rights partner of the world-class soccer stadium.

The newly-named GEODIS Park, is scheduled to be completed next month. Seating 30,000 fans, it will be the largest soccer-specific stadium in the United States and Canada.

“We have repeatedly said that the new stadium will become the spiritual home of Nashville Soccer Club,” says Nashville SC CEO Ian Ayre. “The commitment of logistics specialist GEODIS as the naming partner and the unveiling of ‘GEODIS Park’ is a landmark part of the history and journey of the club. I am hugely proud of the incredible work that Will Alexander, our Chief Revenue Officer, and the partnership team played in bringing this opportunity to where we are today.

“Having had the opportunity to meet with GEODIS members throughout the formation of this partnership, I can confidently say that their people, culture and values are very similar to those of our organization and that makes them the perfect partner for this huge next step,” Ayre added.

GEODIS, is a France-based industry-leading global supply chain operator with its North American headquarters based in Brentwood. It’s one of the fastest-growing logistics companies in the United States, employing more than 15,000 teammates across 19 campuses and more than 230 sites. GEODIS is also a major employer in the Middle Tennessee area with more than 2,000 teammates in the region.

Pictured: Nashville SC press conference announcing Geodis as the stadium’s naming rights sponsor. Photo: By The Sports Credential

“At GEODIS, we are proud of our rich history in the Nashville community that dates back more than 70 years,” says Mike Honious, GEODIS Americas President & CEO. “With this historic new partnership—and the first of its kind for our company—we will be able to use GEODIS Park as a platform to strengthen our commitment to building a strong community alongside a like-minded organization who shares that same vision to make an even greater impact alongside one another. Ultimately, GEODIS Park will be the place where GEODIS, Nashville SC and our community will keep rising together.”

GEODIS will receive prominent branding on the stadium’s exterior, interior and rooftop, including flagship signage above the main entrance welcoming attendees to GEODIS Park. Additionally, the partnership features naming rights to one premium club and several innovative programs to support the Nashville community.

For example, GEODIS will serve as the presenting partner of both a new soccer league focused on underserved neighborhoods in the surrounding community, and the “One Nashville Under Gold” flag, a photo-mosaic with a collection of images representing Nashvillians from all walks of life that will be presented at every home game.

Excel Sports Management’s Properties division sourced and negotiated the stadium naming rights deal between Nashville SC and GEODIS.

Nashville SC Partners With Valkyrie, Becomes First MLS Club To Accept Bitcoin

Nashville Soccer Club has announced the partnership of Valkyrie Investments, a Nashville-based investment manager focused on digital assets, as a Founding Partner. The partnership makes Nashville SC the first Major League Soccer club to accept its full partnership fee in bitcoin.

“As a club we want to be pioneers both on and off the pitch while also being Authentically Nashville,” says Dan Farrell, Vice President of Corporate Partnerships with Nashville SC. “Partnering with Valkyrie provides both a local tie and a platform to connect sports and entertainment to cryptocurrency in the hottest city in the United States.”

As part of the partnership, the Premier Club, an 850-seat premium club located in Nashville SC’s new stadium, will be renamed the Valkyrie Premier Club. The Valkyrie Premier Club has been sold out for nearly a year. In addition to the naming rights to this premium space, Valkyrie’s logo will be featured on the sleeve of the team’s training top.

“Our industry is all about community, and soccer is very much a community-driven sport,” adds Valkyrie Investments CEO Leah Wald. “This partnership with Nashville SC is such a natural fit for both of us, and is only part of our broader efforts to help establish Music City as a global hub for blockchain and digital assets.”

Tickets for home games at the new Nashville SC Stadium are still available to purchase on the club’s website. The home opener is set for May 1 against Philadelphia Union.

Nashville SC Shuts-Out Seattle Sounders 1-0 In 2022 Season Opener

Nashville SC Captain Dax McCarty. Photo: Courtesy of Nashville SC/MLS

Nashville Soccer Club made a huge statement beating Seattle Sounders FC 1-0 in the 2022 season opener on Sunday (Feb. 27) in Seattle.

In its third MLS season, and first in the Western Conference, the Boys in Gold announced their presence as they held their own against league favorites Seattle. As the first of seven-straight away matches which will test NSC’s strength and endurance, the early win will boost the confidence of the team going forward.

“I’m not sure if I could have wish for an awful lot more than I saw tonight from the guys,” said Nashville head coach Gary Smith in a postgame press conference. “[There was a] little bit of an adaptation to the way that we played. Certainly for half the season last year and through the majority of preseason they’ve taken on a lot of information and they applied it wonderfully well today. It was absolutely vital that we broke up the rhythm of this very talented group, especially at home.”

The Coyotes started off the game with consistent attacking from its offense and string passing, as well as containment from its midfield defense. Team captain Dax McCarty, entering his 16th season in MLS, was one of the keys to holding Seattle’s explosive offense at bay.

2021 MVP finalist Hany Mukhtar showed off his skills with a few chances early on, leading both teams with three shots and three key passes made. Goalkeeper Joe Willis had a great game, saving four shots on goal and picking up his first clean sheet of the season.

Pictured: Nashville SC supporters group “The Roadies” in Seattle cheering on NSC in the season opener in Seattle. Photo: Courtesy of Nashville SC/MLS

“In tight, very well matched games, there is never going to be loads of clear cut chances,” Smith added.”The fact we limited them to two efforts on goal here in their own stadium is remarkable really.”

It wasn’t until the 80th minute when Panama native Anibal Godoy netted the first and only goal of the game with complete composure. His goal, assisted by Randall Leal, captured a crucial three points to open the season.

“He’s an experienced guy. He’s made over 100 appearances for his country. He’s certainly aware and appreciative of the work he needs to get through in the positions he needs to pick up. We benefit massively from what those three guys have given the team tonight, along with some other incredible performances,” summed Smith.

The club heads back to Nashville before hitting the road again to face Minnesota United on Saturday, March 5 at 5 p.m.

Nashville SC will play its first home game at the new Nashville SC Stadium at the fairgrounds on May 1.