NASHVILLE, Tenn. — In a place they call the Music City, Nashville SC did its best to make a loud statement on Wednesday night with the unveiling of its MLS crest and brand identity in front of a packed Marathon Music Works.
The assembled crowd was the first gathering to lay eyes on the club's new “Electric Gold” and “Acoustic Blue” badge, which will don Nashville SC's uniforms when the club moves from the USL Championship to MLS in 2020.
Wednesday’s event culminated a long building of a soccer culture in the city, a process that reaches all the way back to the Nashville Diamonds of the American Soccer League in 1982. And it was an atmosphere where the heartfelt emotion equaled the pomp and circumstance.
“Every time we’ve had these announcements, they seem to get bigger and bigger,” MLS Commissioner Don Garber said. “They’re a passionate group, and I think whether it’s here or any of the other cities that are coming into the league in Cincinnati this year, Miami and Nashville and many cities in the years to come, there’s a soccer culture that’s been born in our country in a very short period of time. It’s living here. You guys have seen the passion in that audience, and it kind of surprised me and warmed my heart a little bit.”
Clay Trainum, 32, was among the boisterous supporters on hand. And from his involvement in supporters groups with the USL squad, he says he's seen a steep rise in buzz and excitement surrounding the move to MLS.
“We have our own communication channel with the group, and just seeing that explode from day one last year to now has been incredible,” Trainum said. “There’s people halfway through last season I had never heard of, and now they’re the most active people. It keeps growing and I’m very much looking forward to seeing what it’s like when we have the resources that we’ll have at the MLS level.”
Nashville SC traces its roots back to a supporter-owned amateur club in 2013, and throughout its growth, those who were involved with that first team had made it clear they wanted to keep the same club name and keep the color gold in the branding.
The club followed through on both desires, perhaps a sign of majority owner John Ingram's hopes that the club will maintain a genuine sense that the supporters remain invested at the MLS level.
“I thought it was important to continue the momentum and enthusiasm,” Ingram said. “We’re all in this together, this isn’t just about me. It’s about all of us. I hope they view it as a tip of the cap in saying we heard you, we listened and we want to be a good partner.”
As the club begins the year-long countdown to MLS, the city of Nashville aims to continue to prove why the league made an investment in the city.
“I think Nashville is kind of a young-ish city,” Trainum said. “I think a lot of the most thriving MLS markets right now look a lot like what Nashville looks like. It’s young professionals, people like that, and for the most part, they tend to line up with either hockey or soccer and Nashville’s already got that with NHL’s Nashville Predators. Soccer seems like a natural fit for us.”