An artists’ rendering of the Nashville soccer stadium. (Courtesy of Major League Soccer)
NASHVILLE – Major League Soccer continued its expansion into the Southeast Tuesday as it added Nashville, Tenn. an expansion team.
The MLS’ 24th team will be owned by the investment group, Nashville Soccer Holdings, LLC, led by John R. Ingram, the chairman of Ingram Industries Inc. Ingram’s partners in the soccer team include Minnesota Vikings owners Mark, Zygi and Leonard Wilf, and the Turner Family, managing partners of Nashville-based MarketStreet Enterprises.
Nashville joined Orlando City SC (2015) and Atlanta United (2017) as Southeast club the league has added in the last few years. It was not announced when the team will begin play in MLS.
The side will play in a new, 27,500-seat soccer stadium at The Fairgrounds Nashville in the city’s Wedgewood-Houston neighborhood.
“Nashville is a rising city with a passionate soccer fan base, a dedicated ownership group and civic leaders that truly believe in this sport,” MLS commissioner Don Garber said in a statement. “Nashville continues its ascent as one of America’s most dynamic communities, with its incredible energy and creativity. For us, that makes it a perfect place for MLS expansion. John Ingram and his partners had a plan to bring MLS to Nashville during the last year and they executed it at every level. Thanks to their vision, the soccer fans of Tennessee will soon have their own MLS club and a state-of-the-art soccer stadium that undoubtedly will be a centerpiece of the community.”
Ingram is chairman of Ingram Industries Inc., and is a philanthropist, businessman and sports enthusiast. He has led the bid to bring Nashville to MLS for more than a year. In May he became the majority owner of Nashville SC, which will begins play in the United Soccer League in 2018..
“This is a landmark day for Nashville and for all of the loyal and ardent soccer advocates in our state and our region,” Ingram said in a statement. “During the last year, with the support of our partners, the fans, and civic and community leaders, we were able to make a strong case for why Major League Soccer belonged in the great sports town of Nashville. Thank you MLS owners and commissioner Garber for your confidence in us. We will have a team that everyone can be proud of, and we will take a leadership role in enhancing the growth of the sport in a region that already has a passionate soccer culture. Nashville is going to be a very worthy addition to MLS.”