Nashville soccer dreams

Soccer just lends itself to dreams and aspirations, doesn’t it?

The last several weeks have led to a lot of dreaming on my part just in general. With the rise of vaccination and the general sense that COVID restrictions are starting to ease… with spring weather and growth… with the Nashville SC stadium becoming more and more of a reality, I think it’s fair to say that if you’re not dreaming about the future (especially as an NSC fan), you’re likely not doing a lot of breathing either. 

Nashville SC Gear at

So, I thought I would share a list of my NSC dreams for the next decade, all of them realistic, some more likely than others.

1. Winning a trophy

While winning the league itself would be ideal, I don’t think it’s too much to think of winning something—Supporter’s Shield, US Open Cup, the MLS is Back Cup at the time of the next pandemic—over the course of the decade.  It’s clear that Mike Jacobs and company have made choices that put the club in a good standing last year and, while our point total so far this season hasn’t been where anyone would like it, there are a number of cases to be made that the team is playing a very solid game right now.  This is only going to get better in the seasons to come. While we are not a club, like Atlanta United or LAFC, that is going to make signings that immediately jump us to the top of the league, we are showing every sign of making smart, thoughtful picks, building to a cohesive and sustainable mode.  With consistency comes trophies.  I thoroughly look forward to celebrating our first with everyone.

2. An NWSL club

I have absolutely no reason to think this is on the mind of anyone at the club yet, but I really would love it. Louisville provides an obvious rival, and, given the huge boost in popularity we see each Women’s World Cup, an NWSL team could broaden the overall fan base and add an entire season of entertainment for those of us who cannot get enough soccer. 

While this dream comes in part from having experienced the thrill of watching sold out crowds support the Portland Thorns, I’m also finding myself paying far more attention to European women’s teams this season (sidebar:  it wasn’t difficult to watch a good deal more, as I was starting with a very, very low bar). This is a personal dream, mind you, but we have the stadium, we will have the fans. Let’s do this!

3. An active, engaged and supportive audience

Honestly, we have had very little time in a packed environment together (one game, in fact). Supportive audiences don’t happen overnight, but the pieces are in place. The Backline is upping its game over time, slowly and organically creating its own traditions, AND we have the Predators as something of a model of what could be. While I certainly hope we don’t simply copy Predators crowds, it would be nice over the next several years to watch our home pitch to be a place that is hell on visiting teams. Again, the pieces are here. We simply need to put them together.

4. Better refereeing discussions

Is that crazy? An overall level of discussion amongst fans that starts with the assumption that soccer officiating is fair and professional even though referees get calls wrong at times? Remember, this is my dream, so it’s going to include erasing one of my pet peeves.

I wouldn’t watch a sport that I didn’t think was, at base, a fair one. If referees really made decisions based on what makes for better ratings or because they were angry at a particular team, I wouldn’t watch at all. Yes, referees make wrong calls sometimes. Yes, that’s fine to talk about. That said, over the course of the season, they don’t determine our team’s fates. Players do. Let’s put the burden and focus there, on what can be controlled. 

5. A run of 10 straight games without a rain storm

This is certainly the least likely of my dreams to come true, but I’m sticking with it.

Drop me a line, and let me know what you’d like to see in the next decade.

Author: John Sloopgrew up in Asheville, NC, and after forays to Georgia and Iowa, found his way to Nashville over 25 years ago. On a trip to Portland, Oregon, 15 years ago, he watched the (then) USL Portland Timbers youth squad play one afternoon and fell completely and totally in love with soccer, to the detriment of his love of all other sports. In addition to thinking, writing, watching, and talking about soccer, Sloop teaches media and rhetoric at Vanderbilt. He is currently serving as the Chair of the Board of the Belcourt Theater and is part of the team that runs Tenx9 Nashville, a monthly story telling event.

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