Major League Soccer is officially coming to the Music City.
After several days of reports, the league announced on Wednesday that Nashville has been recognized as the league’s latest expansion franchise. Nashville is the first of two expansion cities set to be recognized in this round with Sacramento, Cincinnati and Detroit still in the running.
“Nashville is a rising city with a passionate soccer fan base, a dedicated ownership group and civic leaders that truly believe in this sport,” said Commissioner Do Garber in a statement. “Nashville continues its ascent as one of America’s most dynamic communities, with its incredible energy and creativity. For us, that makes it a perfect place for MLS expansion.
“John Ingram and his partners had a plan to bring MLS to Nashville during the last year and they executed it at every level. Thanks to their vision, the soccer fans of Tennessee will soon have their own MLS club and a state-of-the-art soccer stadium that undoubtedly will be a centerpiece of the community.”
The team, which is set to build a brand new 27,500-seat soccer stadium at The Fairgrounds Nashville, is owned by John R. Ingram, the chairman of Ingram Industries Inc., Minnesota Vikings owners Mark, Zygi and Leonard Wilf, and the Turner Family, managing partners of Nashville-based MarketStreet Enterprises.
“This is a landmark day for Nashville and for all of the loyal and ardent soccer advocates in our state and our region,” said Ingram. “During the last year, with the support of our partners, the fans, and civic and community leaders, we were able to make a strong case for why Major League Soccer belonged in the great sports town of Nashville.
“Thank you MLS owners and Commissioner Garber for your confidence in us. We will have a team that everyone can be proud of, and we will take a leadership role in enhancing the growth of the sport in a region that already has a passionate soccer culture. Nashville is going to be a very worthy addition to MLS.”