“We did it,” said Chris Jones, GM and founder of Nashville FC, while holding back tears on the biggest day in our short history. July 1, 2016 was the day that the USL unveiled the name and colors for their Nashville-based expansion team. July 1, 2016 was the day that Nashville FC became a professional club. This is the story told by those involved.
Our club was founded in 2013 over some beers right around the corner from what we’ve called home for the last three years. Nobody expected the club to rise as quickly as it has. Something like this was unimaginable three years ago. Nashville FC has come from an amateur NPSL side to a professional USL side, slotted to begin in 2018.
Nashville FC was the first supporter-owned soccer team in North America, something completely unheard of at the time. For the first three years, Nashville FC was run on a volunteer basis. None of us got paid; we were just doing it because we love soccer that much and we wanted to be part of something great.
Our supporters group, the Roadies, are the most passionate fans we could have asked for. They’re at every match, singing for the full 90. They’re outside getting ready for the game at least three hours before kickoff. They mean everything to us. They’re not just our supporters, they’re part of our family.
Within 24 hours of the announcement, there were over 1000 season tickets reserved for 2018. Nashville is ready to have this team, and we’re ready to have them. Our final game at Vanderbilt, was the loudest I’ve ever heard that crowd, regardless of a disappointing season. That says something about our city and what the club means to it. They didn’t want to leave at that final whistle. Nobody did. Our fans have adopted the phrase “first in, last out,” which couldn’t have been more true for the last game until 2018.
Nashville FC is more than a soccer team, it’s our team. Everyone felt their ownership in the club that night. The players, staff, and fans all felt it. Everyone was so proud of everything we’ve accomplished over the last three years.