The Roadies are the original independent supporters group for Nashville SC, founded on February 15, 2014 (ABOVE)
Celebrating Nashville SC’s Roppah Mensah’s game winning, walk off goal against North Carolina FC, June 16th, 2018 (RIGHT)
One day I was on Twitter looking at soccer stuff, and I came across Nashville FC. A guy named Chris Jones had started a grassroots movement to bring an amateur soccer team back to Nashville after the Nashville Metros stopped operating in 2012. This new club was accepting founding members for $75, so I signed up and became member #73. What I didn’t expect was that Chris and a subset of the initial founding members would launch a team in the NPSL in under 12 months, and bring 1000- 2000 people out to every game.
Chris and I had chatted from time to time on email, and at the end of the first season he reached out for us to meet. We talked about the future prospects of the team, and discussed me getting more involved. We agreed that I could help the org if I came on as the chairman of the board, to tighten up governance and structure. Within two months I was voted onto the board and started working. It was obvious to us all that the momentum that Nashville FC had was a signal of how fast soccer could grow in Nashville, and we decided that we wanted to be the group to bring that culture when the time was right. We engaged the members of the club, and got support to push forward.
In the Summer of 2015, we held an investor gathering to talk to potential investors for a pro soccer team. It was there that I met David Dill, CEO of LifePoint Health. David brought in his close friend Chris Redhage, and before we knew it, we had an investor group in place. David asked me to join the ownership group, and before we knew it, we had a professional soccer franchise with the USL (United Soccer League). Due to copyright issues, we couldn’t bring the Nashville FC name along, but to honor that legacy, we named our USL club Nashville Soccer Club, or Nashville SC for short.
Timing is everything. While we were pursuing the USL franchise, Major League Soccer (MLS), US Soccer’s first division league, was rolling out plans for expanding the league and adding four new teams. A few months after we announced our USL franchise to the market, John Ingram, Chairman of Ingram Content Group, put Nashville on a fast track to get a Major League Soccer team. After months of discussion and alignment, we sold a majority of our interest in the USL club to John to join forces and strengthen the bid for Major League Soccer. In December of 2017, Nashville got its Major League Soccer team. Four years, from a tweet to Major League Soccer. Crazy. We began play in Major League Soccer in 2020. Come on you Boys in Gold!