Up The Yotes!
So mascots are somewhat of a contentious subject in sports. Kids and families love them because they're typically colorful and playful. Hardcore fans hate them because it's a distraction from the game. Casual fans are indifferent because they're casual.
Nashville FC/SC has always been referred to as the "Boys in Gold". When we first debuted in a professional match against Atlanta United, the television broadcasters tried to bill the match as "the Five Stripes vs the Six Strings" referring to the guitar element of the USL Championship team's logo. With the rebranding into MLS, that element is gone, replaced by what some call "sound waves". With Nashville being known as Music City, the theme was going to follow.
Season one was marred by COVID-19, and so there was not a lot done to find a nickname. Most fans, like me, wanted something to come about organically. Luckily, it seems we got our wish.
For those who have kept up with the ongoing saga of Nashville SC's stadium at the state fairgrounds, you'll remember all of the Metro City Council meetings in 2018, the club's first professional season, that were held to vote on the stadium. Several included time for citizens to voice their opinions for or against the stadium. Those opposed were mostly belonging to a group called Save Our Fairgrounds who believed that the soccer stadium would kill off their beloved fairgrounds (the Tennessee State Fair is a bit of a sad joke with Wilson County holding the largest fair in the state for over a decade), the flea market, and the racetrack.
The SOF crew made some great points about other locations at which the stadium could be built, but some made some fairly wild comments. One man gave a miniature sermon about how Nashville is becoming like ancient Rome who tried to distract its citizens from their miserable lives with "bread and circuses." "This has become a town of circuses: football circus, baseball circus, hockey circus, and now soccer circus," he opined. "Economies are built, wealth is made through mining, manufacturing, and agriculture." This led to many jokes, supporters dressing as clowns and miners, and using his tenets of economy as a chant; however, there was another SOF supporter whose words at that meeting resonated with Nashville SC supporters.
The very next night was a home match against Richmond Kickers in which Nashville won 4-0. In between circus songs and economy chants, the supporters yipped like coyotes as their boys rode roughshod over the club who was the DC United affiliate at the time. It was so obvious that John Freeman, play-by-play broadcaster for the club, called the club "a pack of coyotes on the hunt again" after the fourth goal was scored.
That coyote reference stuck with us. Some people joked that Nashville SC stood for "soccer coyotes". The following January, a wild coyote was found in the bathroom of Music City Center, a convention center that was still under construction. As soon as the news came out, the supporters were all over it. The Assembly (@TheAssemblyNash) tweeted "If we get a mascot @NashvilleSC you better make it a coyote." I responded with "Nashville Soccer Coyotes. Trademark it now." Little did we know, they would.
Say hello to Tempo the coyote, official mascot of Nashville SC. He has already made friends with Gnash, mascot of the NHL's Nashville Predators. No word yet on if he's reached out to T-Rac of the Tennessee Titans or Booster of the Nashville Sounds. Tempo is making an impact though as Extratime podcast host Andrew Wiebe (@Andrew_Wiebe) put him as the starting LW in his mascot Best XI. If fans are allowed in stadiums for this season, you can bet that Tempo will be there, and the Backline will be yipping with him to cheer on the Boys in Gold.