Nashville SC announce roster decisions

Nashville SC announced their roster decisions on Friday morning. As expected, the core of their squad will return for the 2022 season, with a couple key departures opening increased roster flexibility ahead of the 2022 season.

Already under contract

Handwalla Bwana, Aké Loba, Jack Maher, Hany Mukhtar, Miguel Nazarit, Rodrigo Piñeiro, Daniel Ríos, Dave Romney, CJ Sapong, Joe Willis, Walker Zimmerman

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Signed new contracts

Brian Anunga, Aníbal Godoy, Dax McCarty, Randall Leal, Dan Lovitz

Options exercised

Robert Castellanos, Irakoze Donasiyano, Luke Haakenson, Alistair Johnston, Eric Miller, Alex Muyl, Dylan Nealis, Elliot Panicco, Taylor Washington

Options declined

David Accam, Nick Hinds, Tom Judge, Matt LaGrassa, Brian Meredith, Tor Saunders

Out of contract

Jalil Anibaba, Abu Danladi

Nashville declined Bryan Meredith’s option, but are in talks to bring the ‘keeper back. Meredith didn’t see the field last season, but served as Joe Willis’s backup in all 36 matches the club played while Elliot Panicco was on loan in the USL Championship.

Jhonder Cádiz’s loan from Benfica expired at the end of the season, and the DP striker will not return. Cádiz scored five goals for Nashville in 31 appearances, but struggled to break into the starting lineup. Initially on loan through June 2021, his loan was extended as Nashville negotiated to sign Aké Loba, giving the club cover in case dealings fell through with Monterrey.

David Accam will also not return. His option has not been picked up after a year on loan with Hammarby in Sweden. Nashville signed Accam well aware of his injury history, and his playing time in 2020 was severely limited due to a succession of minor injuries that limited him to just 233 minutes.

As previously reported, both Jalil Anibaba and Abu Danladi are out of contract. Both players have the potential to return to Nashville, but are free to explore other offers. Robert Castellanos saw his option picked up, and despite making just a single appearance this year, has the backing of the technical staff and is expected to play a more significant role in 2022.

Miguel Nazarit was signed as a Targeted Allocation Money (TAM) signing before Nashville’s 2020 expansion season, but didn’t see the field before going on a season-long loan to Independiente Santa Fe last season. He played just three matches in Colombia, and was only in the match-day squad on 12 occasions. He’s the sixth-highest paid player on Nashville’s books, but with a guaranteed contract, he’ll likely be loaned out for another season.

Similarly, the club is exploring loan options for Rodrigo Piñeiro, who played just 16 minutes all year as the club’s first U22 Initiative signing. Piñeiro dealt with a difficult transition to the United States in his first season abroad, and has been vocal on social media and in the Uruguayan press on his desire to leave on loan. His contract is guaranteed through 2023 with an additional year option. Nashville’s staff is still bullish on his potential to have an impact in MLS, but he desperately needs minutes in the short term.

Nashville are expected to be active in the MLS half-day transfer window, which will be open from 8:00 am to noon central on Sunday morning. After that, they will not be able to sign or trade players until after the 2021 Expansion Draft on December 14.

Austin FC selected Nashville’s Brady Scott in last year’s Expansion Draft, meaning Nashville are protected in 2021.

Nashville SC current roster

Goalkeepers (2): Joe Willis, Elliot Panicco

Defenders (10): Robert Castellanos, Alistair Johnston, Dan Lovitz, Jack Maher, Eric Miller, Miguel Nazarit, Dylan Nealis, Dave Romney, Taylor Washington, and Walker Zimmerman

Midfielders (10): Tah Brian Anunga, Handwalla Bwana, Irakoze Donasiyano, Aníbal Godoy, Luke Haakenson, Randall Leal, Dax McCarty, Hany Mukhtar, Alex Muyl and Rodrigo Piñeiro

Forwards (3): Aké Loba, Daniel Ríos and CJ Sapong

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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