Walker Zimmerman: 2023 report card

Walker Zimmerman took over the captain’s armband for the 2023, and put in some key performances for Nashville SC despite injuries limiting his availability.

Walker Zimmerman 2023 Grade: B-

2023 by the numbers

Matches played: 33 (12th on Nashville SC)
Minutes played: 2,907 (7th on Nashville SC)
Goals: 4 (T-4th on Nashville SC)
Assists: 2 (T-9th on Nashville SC)
Clean sheets: 7
Goal contributions per 96 minutes: 0.20 (10th on Nashville SC)

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2023 in review

2023 was an up and down year for Zimmerman. He started Nashville’s first 10 matches in MLS before an injury kept him out for the next six. After recovering, he played just one match with Nashville before heading to the Gold Cup with the U.S.

During Leagues Cup, Zimmerman put together some of his best performances in gold, notably a standout showing in Nashville’s semifinal win against CF Monterrey in which he was nothing short of dominant.

The rest of Zimmerman’s season involved playing through an achilles injury that had plagued him all season. While still one of Nashville’s more reliable performers, he didn’t have the same level of dominance that he showed in the earlier parts of the season.

Zimmerman ended up playing the fewest league minutes of any season in Nashville, including 2020’s Covid-shortened schedule. Even in a down year, though, he was still one of Nashville’s most consistent players and led the joint-best defense in MLS.

Surprisingly, Zimmerman earned himself a spot in the MLS Best XI. While there are legitimate questions about the defenders not selected, it’s a notable achievement for the Nashville captain, who is now third-all time for MLS Best XI selections and the most among active players.

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Looking forward

Zimmerman is locked into a contract with Nashville through the 2025 season, and is a core building block for the Music City project. When healthy, he’s one of the best center backs, not just in MLS but in all of Concacaf, and is cementing his legacy as one of the best ever to do it in MLS.

The goal in 2024 will be more consistent availability, something Zimmerman has excelled at in years past. Hopefully the offseason will allow him to fully recover from some of the lingering issues he played through this season. If he’s healthy, he should push for a record sixth consecutive Best XI selection.

Moment of the season

Zimmerman grabbed Nashville’s first goal of the season, and the first goal wearing their Johnny Cash-inspired “Man In Black” kits. The celebration was fitting, with a chorus of “Ring of Fire” belted into the corner flag.

Previous report cards:

Joe Willis (A-) | Dan Lovitz (A) | Lukas MacNaughton (A) | Jack Maher (A-) | Dax McCarty (B+) | Fafà Picault (A) | Randall Leal (D) | Sam Surridge (B-) | Hany Mukhtar (B-) | Ethan Zubak (D) | Teal Bunbury (C-) | Jacob Shaffelburg (B-) | Shaq Moore (B) | Alex Muyl (B+) | Aníbal Godoy (C+) | Josh Bauer (B-) | Taylor Washington (B)

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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