NASHVILLE, TN – Nashville SC announced Monday morning that head coach Gary Smith has extended his contract with the club through the 2023 season. Smith signs the deal after leading Nashville to the Eastern Conference semifinal in their first season in MLS.
“I am very proud and honored to extend my time here in Nashville,” said Smith in a club statement. “To be part of the development and growth of Nashville SC has been one of the most enjoyable and fulfilling periods in my coaching career and I look forward to many great times ahead.”
Smith joined Nashville SC in 2017 ahead of their debut in the USL Championship. At the USL level, Nashville qualified for the playoffs in both seasons, finishing with a record of 36 wins, 20 draws and 20 losses.
Smith was officially named manager of the MLS side in March 2019, and led Nashville to a 9-8-7 record in their first season, including two playoff wins and an extra time loss to eventual champions Columbus Crew.
“Given his achievements since being appointed as Nashville SC’s first ever MLS head coach, for me deciding to extend Gary’s contract was an easy and obvious decision,” said CEO Ian Ayre. “In a coach you always seek that ability to manage players individually and at the same time bring them together as a team on the pitch to get results. Gary has shown his ability to do that effectively and successfully, and in the toughest of years. We are delighted that he will continue to manage our team as we continue this MLS journey.”
Smith began his career as a player, including stints with Fulham, Colchester United and Wycombe Wanderers. After injuries forced him into retirement at just 27, Smith began his coaching career with Wimbledon. After working as a scout for Arsenal, Smith joined MLS’s Colorado Rapids, where he lead the side to their first and only MLS Cup in 2010.
“Gary’s outstanding leadership on the field drove our group to one of the most outstanding expansion seasons in Major League Soccer history, and we are so proud and delighted to honor and recognize him with a contract extension,” said general manager Mike Jacobs.
Smith’s extension is a well deserved one. In a tumultuous expansion season, Smith kept Nashville steady. By the end of the season, he had them playing exciting and effective soccer, and will look to continue that in 2021.