Wes Boling To Return As Lead Broadcaster For Belmont Men’s Soccer

Former Nashville SC radio broadcaster Wes Boling is set to return as Belmont men’s soccer’s Lead Broadcaster for the 2023 season.

Boling spent the previous four-plus years with Nashville SC in Major League Soccer (MLS) as well as Belmont soccer.

“We are thrilled to welcome Wes Boling back to the Bruin Sports Network team,” says Greg Sage, Associate Athletic Director. “Wes is a respected voice in the soccer community; his experience, professionalism and on-point delivery will enhance our productions for ESPN.”

Boling returns to the Bruin microphone after commentating Belmont men’s and women’s soccer earlier this decade on the ESPN family of networks and OVC Digital Network.

“I am honored to call Belmont soccer matches this season,” says Boling. “Coach [David] Costa leads a vibrant program at a world-class institution that is close to my heart. I can’t wait to broadcast matches this fall.”

A communications and public relations industry veteran, the Nashville native and Brentwood Academy product previously worked as a sports reporter and content editor at WVLT-TV in Knoxville, Tennessee. Boling earned a Master’s degree in business administration from Belmont in 2013.

Nashville SC To Face FC Cincinnati In Leagues Cup Round Of 32

Photo: Courtesy of Nashville SC

After much anticipation, Nashville SC finally knows its fate and is headed to the Round of 32 of the Leagues Cup to face FC Cincinnati at 7 p.m. CT on Friday, Aug. 4 at TQL Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio.

The Boys in Gold clinched their knockout stage appearance with a 2-1 win over Colorado on July 23, before narrowly falling 4-3 to Liga MX club Toluca. Fans waited late on Monday night (July 31) to watch Toluca beat Colorado Rapids 4-1, securing NSC’s second place finish in the group.

NSC and Cincinnati met on July 15, just before the kickoff of Leagues Cup, in a dramatic rivalry match that saw Nashville experience a loss at Cincinnati for the first time in MLS history. Walker Zimmerman opened the scoring in the 32nd minute for the first of his two goals in the past three weeks but Cincinnati retaliated with a penalty goal by Luciano Acosta in the 42nd minute after Alex Muyl was penalized for a handball.

Cincinnati took advantage of its numerical superiority, scoring the next two goals, including one in injury time, to secure the 3-1 victory, a fate that has plagued Nashville over the last eight games. 

Following the Group Stage, the Round of 32 transitions into a single-match elimination system, with four games in each region for a total of 16 matches. If the score is tied at the end of regulation, the match winner will be determined by penalty kicks. The winner will then move into the Round of 16 which will be played between Aug. 6-8.

Nashville SC Defense Squanders In 4-3 Loss To Toluca

Alex Muyl. Photo: Courtesy of Nashville SC

The Boys in Gold have found themselves in murky waters after falling 4-3 to Liga MX squad Toluca in the Leagues Cup at GEODIS Park on Thursday (July 27) night.

Nashville started off well with a fast paced offense between the work from Jacob Shaffelburg and Fafa Picault. But it was Walker Zimmerman who headed in a goal in the third minute off of a stellar Dan Lovitz corner kick to give Nashville the lead.

But in the 27th minute, Toluca’s Marcel Ruiz responded with a spectacular goal off of a short cross in front of the net to tie it. From here, it quickly became relevant that Nashville’s defense was under constant pressure from the Mexican club’s quick pace offensive pushes up the pitch.

NSC scored off of a Picault goal in the 37th minute but the moment was shutdown once again in the 41st minute by another Ruiz goal. But it was in first half stoppage time that Nashville SC’s defense really hurt the club when Alex Muyl was called for a handball in the penalty box and Toluca was awarded a penalty and then scored taking a 3-2 lead into halftime.

“I don’t think we can say that everyone’s really right on the button right now,” said head coach Gary Smith on the team’s defense. “That could be fatigue at this stage of the season, we can certainly say that the climate has affected the way the players go about their business for 90 minutes. There’s also choices on when to trap players, some of the communication that goes on, and there’s a lot of breakdowns at the moment.

“They made absolutely the most of it. The first goal that we saw at halftime from the throw-in, through a group as well-versed as this one is, it’s hugely disappointed. I’ve not been involved in too many games with this group where we’ve conceded four goals and we’ve gone in front but lost the game. And we’ve done both in one evening. That’s not a good sign, and there’s an awful lot that we can do to improve that. I’m sure we will.”

Teal Bunbury replaced Muyl at the start of the second half but continued to struggle to put the ball in the net. His inability to score when in position has added to frustration, adding insult to injury, game after game, loss after loss.

In the 61st minute Robert Morales extended Toluca’s lead to 4-2 off of another goal in which Nashville’s defense should have prevented. Here, the frustration became overwhelming and the yellow cards began to fly. Bunbury was carded twice resulting in a red card in the 86th minute.

Luke Haakenson was able to cut the lead to 4-3 in the 70th minute but Toluca’s ball control and ability to stifle any NSC offensive creativity ultimately led to their win.

Nashville currently sits in second place in the group with three points and 0 goal differential. They will go through to the next round as long as Colorado doesn’t defeat Toluca by more than one goal. If Colorado loses, draws or wins in penalties (the winner in penalties is awarded two points) Nashville would go through.

Tie-breakers in the Leagues Cup are determined first by head-to-head then goal differential and then by yellow cards.

The Boys in Gold will have to wait to see if they move when Toluca plays Colorado on Monday, July 31st at 8:30 p.m..

Nashville SC Signs EPL Striker Sam Surridge As Designated Player

Sam Surridge. Photo: Courtesy of Nashville SC

Nashville SC has signed Sam Surridge, as the club’s third Designated Player through 2026 with an option for the 2027 season to help the team’s offense after a month of scoring woes.

Surridge, who will be available for selection upon receipt of his P-1 Visa, joins Hany Mukhtar and Walker Zimmerman in the DP category from English Premier League side Nottingham Forest.  

“Sam is an athletic striker who is clinical around the goal,” General Manager Mike Jacobs says. “He fits our club DNA and has proven his ability to influence winning with his integral role in Nottingham Forest gaining promotion to the Premier League in 2022. We are excited about this next chapter of his career here in Nashville.” 

The 24-year-old arrives in Nashville after making his mark in the EFL Championship, England’s second division, where his seven goals from the second half of his debut season were crucial in Forest’s return to the Premier League for the first time in 23 years. 

Born in Slough, Berkshire, England, Surridge began his soccer journey with local club Bournemouth Sports before joining AFC Bournemouth’s academy at age 14. He quickly progressed through the ranks, demonstrating his scoring prowess with the youth team and gaining valuable experience on loan at Poole Town and Yeovil Town, where he scored 10 goals in 53 appearances in the 2017-18 season. 

Surridge went on to make a significant impact in League Two during a loan spell with Oldham Athletic in the 2018-19 season, scoring 12 goals in 20 appearances, and earning a League Two Player of the Month award. He made his Premier League debut with Bournemouth in February 2019 and was recognized as the club’s Under-21 Player of the Year. 

His development continued with a successful loan spell at Swansea City in the Championship for the 2019-20 season, where he scored seven goals in 23 appearances, before moving to Stoke City in August 2021. Surridge had a promising start at Stoke, scoring on his debut, and eventually moving to Nottingham Forest in January 2022. 

Surridge will be officially introduced to the fans on Thursday, July 27 when the Boys in Gold host Toluca as part of their final Leagues Cup 2023 match of the Central 4 group.

Nashville SC Secures Leagues Cup Win Over Colorado Rapids

Photo: Courtesy of Nashville SC

Nashville Soccer Club defeated the Colorado Rapids 2-1 with another stellar performance from Hany Mukhtar.

Mukhtar, coming off his MLS All-Star week, was substituted in during the 57th minute, and scored the opening goal within 60 seconds. In the 65th minute, He showed off his footwork, cutting in from the right flank and laying in a cross to Jacob Shaffelburg who tapped it in, giving Nashville SC a 2-0 lead. Mukhtar scored his 100th and 1o1st goal contribution in MLS with his goal and assist.

“We lost a little bit of continuity in our play in the last four or five games, and it was important that we started somehow to get back on track,” said Head Coach Gary Smith in a postgame press conference. “The first half looked a little bit nervy at times, no lack of energy and competitive edge. Chances that unfortunately were not there for us to complete and put ourselves in front. I think you saw when the three guys came on, and by the way, I thought Jacob [Shaffelburg] was outstanding in that first period, very much involved in an attacking sense. Within his first two touches, Hany made all the difference. I thought the influence of the three guys was a very positive one, and of course to get a two-goal lead put us in a much more confident position.”

The first half had its moments from both Shaffelburg and Teal Bunbury, who has struggled to score over the past month, and was filled with slow movement and lack of inspiration on both sides. However, Shaffelburg proved why he is one of the best young forwards in the league, showcasing his incredible speed and crossing abilities. His work was awarded as scored his first goal for Nashville in nearly three months.

“The goal helped big time,” said Shaffelburg. “I have not scored for Nashville since Atlanta United, so that was a long time ago. It feels nice to score again and kind of get reset I guess. But yeah, I mean, it’s amazing to score and to get back into it. It feels great to get my confidence back. Obviously the Gold Cup goal helped quite a bit with my confidence. So I’ve been feeling really good since then. To get a goal tonight is kind of just to build off it’s amazing, and the win is also really good.”

With the win, the Boys in Gold put themselves in great position to win the group and head to the knockout stage of the League’s Cup. The victory has also boosted Nashville SC’s morale as they’ve had a brutal month losing five of their last six matches.

“I just think it’s very important that we got back in the win column,” said Smith. “Honestly, I’m not sure the performances over the past six games have been that poor. If you look at the way we played against Philadelphia [Union], lots of opportunities, very aggressive, very purposeful, the result wasn’t there. We can look at some of the decisions that were made in the game, but we also have to look internally at ourselves and start to decide what we’re going to be, what we want to be and how we’re going to get there. I thought tonight, we slowly but surely started to turn in that positive direction. The result was very important emotionally for all of the group and puts us on a very positive track and maybe in a position, there’s still work to be done, but try and control this group of three teams and finish top of it and give ourselves a home game in the last 32.”

Nashville SC will host Liga MX club Toluca this Thursday (July 27) at GEODIS Park. The game will be an exciting one as Liga MX clubs tend to bring in tons of passionate Mexican soccer fans. This will be the second time Nashville SC has hosted a Liga MX squad at home. 

TSC Podcast: Episode 015: Titans Sign DeAndre Hopkins/NSC In A Free Fall

On this episode of The Sports Credential Podcast, Steven dives into some Titans and Nashville SC talk, discussing this week’s major report of DeAndre Hopkins joining the Titans and what that means for the Titans this season.

Steven also takes some time to talk about Nashville SC’s scoring woes and their recent downward spiral losing five of their last six games. The Boys in Gold also received four red cards in their last two games, showing frustration and a lack of discipline.

He also previews the League’s Cup which kicks off this weekend when NSC host the Colorado Rapids.

Be sure to follow The Sports Credential on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and to subscribe to The Sports Credential Podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and YouTube for new episodes every week!

Nashville SC Promotes Lindsey Paola To Chief Operating Officer

Lindsey Paola. Photo: Courtesy of Nashville SC

Nashville Soccer Club is promoting current Chief of Staff Lindsey Paola to the position of Chief Operating Officer.

Paola will assume her new role on Aug. 1, and will continue to work under Chief Executive Officer & President of Nashville SC and Huntsville City Football Club Ian Ayre.

“In the past five years, Nashville SC has undergone significant evolution and growth, marking milestones with GEODIS Park, our Vanderbilt Health Training Center, our academy and Huntsville City FC in MLS NEXT Pro,” Ayre says. “As we enter our next phase of development, it’s critical to adapt our operational strategies. Lindsey has been instrumental in our journey, constantly enhancing her contributions and role. Her core skills are invaluable and highly complementary to my own. As such, it’s with great pleasure that we appoint her as Chief Operating Officer. With Lindsey assuming daily operational responsibilities, I, as President & CEO of Nashville SC and Huntsville City FC, can dedicate more focus on future growth, which aligns perfectly with our long-term objectives.”

As the new Chief Operating Officer, Paola will take the reins of the day-to-day general business operations at Nashville SC, encompassing operational approvals and human resource matters. She will also play a pivotal role in leading inter-departmental projects and ensuring the development of junior staff members. Additionally, Paola will work closely with Ayre to develop and implement operating policies, oversee compliance with Nashville SC, Major League Soccer (MLS) and U.S. Soccer rules, and represent the club as a public spokesperson.

“Lindsey has been an important part of the growth and success Nashville SC has experienced to date and I am certain she is going to continue to make a difference for our club as Chief Operating Officer,” says Nashville SC Lead Owner John Ingram. “Her energy, smarts and now experience make her a terrific fit for our future.”

Following two seasons as the club’s Senior Director of Club Administration, Paola was promoted to Chief of Staff in 2019 as the club graduated operations from the USL Championship to MLS. She currently oversees the administrative, IT, human resources, private and major events sales teams. Paola was also responsible for bringing the first concert, Shania Twain, to GEODIS Park as well as a variety of other non-MLS programming.

Before joining Nashville SC, she worked in the public sector and the federal government, including Frontier Communications, the United States Department of State, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and Noblis. Paola started her career on the Bush-Cheney presidential campaign and from there worked on the 55th Presidential Inaugural Committee. She then worked in the White House Office of Vice Presidential Advance and the White House Counsel’s Office during the Bush-Cheney Administration.

Paola holds a Bachelor’s degree in political communications from The George Washington University and a Master’s degree in General Psychology from The Catholic University of America.

Nashville SC’s Aníbal Godoy Headed To Gold Cup Final With Panama

Aníbal Godoy. Photo: Courtesy of Nashville SC

The Panamanian National Team, led by Nashville SC midfielder Aníbal Godoy, upset the United States Men’s National Team (USMNT) 5-4 in a penalty shootout, leading them to the Concacaf Gold Cup Final this Sunday (July 16).

The thrilling Semifinal in San Diego ended 0-0 after 90 minutes, but Panama was able to score in extra time off of a goal from Ivan Anderson. However in the 110th minute, Jesus Ferreira scored the equalizer, which ultimately sent the game into a penalty shootout.

The Panamanian starting lineup against the USMNT in the 2023 Gold Cup Semifinals. Photo: Courtesy of the Panamanian Football Confederation

Godoy was named Captain for Panama in what was his 128th cup for the international side. The 33-year-old played for 102 minutes before being subbed out after receiving a yellow card on a harsh tackle. This is Panama’s third Gold Cup Final appearance and Godoy’s second after playing in the 2013 Gold Cup Final against the United States.

Panama will try and make history by winning its first major trophy when they take on Mexico on Sunday in Los Angeles at 6:30 p.m. CT, airing on Fox.