Nashville SC

Nashville SC officially signs Dave Romney

Very strange Dave Romney photo courtesy LA Galaxy.

What was first reported by The Athletic a week ago is now official: Dave Romney is a member of Nashville SC’s inaugural Major League Soccer roster.

The 6-2, 190-pound centerback has played his entire professional career in the LA Galaxy system, beginning with a USL contract with Los Dos out of college in 2015 before signing with the senior team later that Summer. From Club release:

NASHVILLE (Nov. 12, 2019) – Nashville Soccer Club announced today it has signed defender Dave Romney from the LA Galaxy in exchange for $225,000 in General Allocation Money. The Galaxy will receive an additional $50,000 in General Allocation Money if Romney meets certain performance-based metrics. The 26-year-old versatile defender is the second player to join Nashville SC during the MLS two-day trade window after the club announced the signing of veteran midfielder Dax McCarty earlier today.

“Dave’s combination of athleticism and decision-making on both sides of the ball, coupled with being naturally left-sided, made him someone that we appreciated very early on in this process,” said Nashville SC GM Mike Jacobs. “We believe that he is someone that could really flourish in our system with both a consistent role and a regular run of games.”

“I’m incredibly excited to be involved in Nashville SC’s inaugural MLS season,” said Romney. “It’s such a unique experience. You are at the ground floor of shaping what the club’s legacy will be for years to come. It’s something I’ve always been intrigued about doing and I couldn’t be happier that it’s in an amazing city with such a passionate fanbase.”

A local Angelino product from Irvine, Calif., Romney became the first LA Galaxy II player to sign a Major League Soccer contract with the first team on Aug. 5, 2015. He has since established himself as a mainstay on the Galaxy’s backline with 132 appearances (111 as a starter) in all competitions over the course of his four-year MLS career.

An athletic and technical left-footed defender, Romney’s adaptability offers him the ability to succeed in multiple defensive positions. He is an active aerial player both defensively and in the attack and a threatening crosser when delivering balls into the box.

Romney made his international debut with the U.S. U23 Men’s National Team on Nov. 15, 2015, taking the field in a friendly against Brazil.

Romney is a native of Irvine, Calif., but headed north from Orange County to play four years of college soccer at University of San Francisco before embarking on his professional career. He bounced back-and-forth between Galaxy and the II side during his first two years as a pro, but was a first-team regular in 2017 and 2018 before sliding into a backup role this season.

It’s worth noting that LA has had a pretty poor defense the entire time he’s been a pro (certainly not primarily because of him, but he’s not blameless, either). Whereas the Chicago Fire were mostly unlucky to have an average defensive performance in 2019, the Galaxy have been lucky (or “in possession of David Bingham, one of the best keepers in MLS”) to have their stats only look… well below-average. Team defensive performance can only be so reflective of one individual – if you put me next to Virgil Van Dijk, Liverpool’s defensive stats will look like trash even if he’s the best defender in the world – but certainly the holistic picture is one of the jury being out on his individual contribution.

Here’s a highlight video from his 2018 season with the Galaxy:

It’s tough to glean too much from a highlight reel, but there’s a hint of an aerial threat as well as a guy who’s comfortable with the ball at his feet pushing forward (or clearing from his own end with some composure). Since he’s not a simply massive guy – he’s big, but serves only to underscore how comically large Zlatan is in a couple of those clips – he’ll probably remind NSC fans of Jimmy Ockford.

The physical play is something you aren’t going to get a ton of on a brief highlight reel, but certainly flashy tackles flying in from the side in recovery runs (“the Justin Davis” if you’re looking for a USL reference point) aren’t going to be there. He’s a positionally-sound guy more than anything. Importantly, that can be multiple positions: he has historically played both left back and centerback.

As I posted in the DAX story, here’s his American Soccer Analysis profile-type substance:

Romney is turning 27 about midway through next season, and at a position where guys can play well into their 30s, he’s more a potential long-term signing than, say, Dax McCarty. Under a coach whose teams (both in USL and long ago in MLS) have been defensively stout, there’s an opportunity for his game to continue to grow, as well.

See the full Nashville SC MLS roster for 2020 here.


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