Luke Haakenson: 2023 report card

Luke Haakenson was one of Nashville SC’s few attacking options off the bench, but couldn’t force his way into a larger role in his fourth season in Music City.

Luke Haakenson 2023 Grade: C

2023 by the numbers

Matches played: 20 (18th on Nashville SC)
Minutes played: 623 (22nd on Nashville SC)
Goals: 1
Assists: 0
Goal contributions per 96 minutes played: 0.15 (13th on Nashville SC)

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2023 in review

Haakenson has been a favorite of Gary Smith since he was selected in the 2020 SuperDraft. With only Fafà Picault signed as a wide attacking option, Haakenson was once again one of Nashville’s few attacking options to bring off the bench.

Unfortunately as the season went on his playing time diminished. He finished 2023 with just 265 league minutes, his lowest tally since breaking into Nashville’s first team in 2021. Despite not seeing much action, Haakenson was in the matchday squad for all but five of Nashville’s 46 matches, and when he did play he always put in a shift.

Looking forward

Haakenson is in an option year. While he’s an affordable known quantity, Nashville will almost certainly look to make upgrades in slots 20-30 on their roster. With Haakenson’s playing time already diminishing, it’s hard to see Nashville bringing him back in 2024. Haakenson could get another look from an MLS club (*cough* Minnesota), or perhaps drop down to the USL Championship, where he had success on loan with Charlotte.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Since this was written, Nashville SC announced that Haakenson’s option was declined.

Moment of the season

Haakenson’s lone goal of the year, a late strike in a 4-3 loss to Toluca in the Leagues Cup, was nearly a mirror image to his strike in the 2022 Leagues Cup showcase.



Author: Ben Wrightis the Director of Soccer Content and a Senior MLS Contributor for Broadway Sports covering Nashville SC and the US National Team. Previously Ben was the editor and a founder of Speedway Soccer, where he has covered Nashville SC and their time in USL before journeying to Major League Soccer since 2018. Raised in Louisville, KY Ben grew up playing before a knee injury ended his competitive career. When he is not talking soccer he is probably producing music, drinking coffee or hanging out with his wife and kids. Mastodon

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