What's new in Nashville?
There was no shortage of news in Music City over the past two weeks. Stadium updates, roster moves, plus a new Vibe for a jersey. In this article, I'm going to try to cover the flurry of reports from the two weeks since my last story.
Due to the historic ice storm, work on Nashville SC's new stadium obviously stopped for a week, but the work continues including player bench wall construction; work to build out the framework of the concourse level on the south end; and distributed antenna systems (DAS) installation continues, which makes it possible to get cell service inside the stadium. You can get updates or watch the work with the live cameras setup at Stadium Construction Camera | Nashville SC.
My last article focused on several offensive signings the club had made. General Manager Mike Jacobs then switched gears and made three defensive signings. Robert Castellanos is a center back who spent the last three years with Rio Grande Valley FC, the USL Championship affiliate of Houston Dynamo. The Palmdale, CA native has experience in the US youth national team as well as Liga MX club Atlas FC. “Robert has the tools to be a contributor at this level and has gained some valuable experiences already at a very early stage of his playing career. He will be able to add to the depth of our back line,” said Jacobs.
Soon after Castellanos, Nashville signed a deal with Seattle Sounders for the Homegrown rights to left back Nick Hinds. Like Castellanos, Hinds is a young player with a strong pedigree coming from Sounders academy and USYNT as well as playing college soccer with powerhouse Akron where he appeared in 44 matches ,recorded 11 goals, and eight assists in route to leading the Zips to back-to-back Conference Championships and NCAA Tournament berths, including a trip to the College Cup in 2017. “Nick is a talented young player who has been a real standout at the youth, collegiate, and USL Championship levels,” Jacobs said. “He brings outstanding experiences from US youth national teams and a successful youth academy in Seattle. His pace and ability to join into the attack makes him someone who could become a successful left-sided player at this level.” Hinds and Castellanos give Nashville 14 players under 25 years of age.
The third defensive signing in quick succession was a veteran this time. Bryan Meredith, a 31-year-old goalkeeper, is an MLS veteran of ten years with clubs Seattle Sounders and San Jose Earthquakes. Inter Miami CF took him in the Expansion Draft and subsequently traded him to Vancouver Whitecaps. He also had stints in Sweden with IK Brage and North American Soccer League with New York Cosmos. Meredith was a free agent and joins the goalkeeping corps with Superdraft pick Elliot Panicco and reigning MLS shutout leader Joe Willis. “Bryan has been an outstanding teammate wherever he’s been, and we know that he’ll add to the depth of our goalkeeping corps here, said Jacobs. “His size and athleticism make him someone who immediately adds competition and improves our goalkeeper pool.”
Finally, just this last week, Nashville SC released its new away kit they called Vibe II after last year's away kit called the Vibe. The name definitely left something to be desired, but the kit itself was quite pleasing. Still navy, this jersey has a subtle pattern of the "Soundwave N" seen in the crest embedded on the front and sleeves. The jock tag shows the state of Tennessee in "Electric Gold" on the bottom left of the front. The back of the jersey at the neck has a special detail. A sound byte of the Backline singing "Nashville's Blue and Gold" pays homage to Nashville SC's supporters. The club had a huge celebration Saturday at Nissan Stadium where fans could buy the jersey for the first time as well as meet new mascot Tempo the Coyote. The Vibe II kit is also on sale now at Nashville SC Jerseys, Nashville SC Kits, Jersey | MLSStore.com.
A busy time in Music City hopefully precedes a successful season which kicks off on Saturday April 17. The regular season schedules have not been released yet, and sources say it may not be until mid March. Nevertheless, Nashville SC and its supporters will be ready to repeat the success from 2020 and push it even further.