Fat Bottom’s Hop Yard. Tim Sullivan/For Club and Country.
Herein, I round up the latest links of interest in Nashville and national soccer – and sometimes beyond! If you find a story you’d like me to share, never hesitate to drop me a line via e-mail, or reach out on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram – and hit those with a follow while you’re here.
Fat Bottom Brews, you make the soccer world go ’round. Tonight! Fat Bottom! 4-8 p.m! Get some beers – including a pair of proprietary creations specifically for Nashville SC – and some new MLS Nashville merch.
RVSP through eventbrite if you’re interested in attending. I also believe this is a perfect event if you’re a soccer-interested person who doesn’t have season tickets to get a feel for the club, and would encourage folks in that category to attend (or if you’re a season-ticket holder who has friends who fit the bill, bring them along). You know, this sort of stuff.
On the Ayre. It’s been a media whirlwind for Nashville SC Chief Executive Officer Ian Ayre lately – and since it’s been a very, very long time since a Pitch Points, “lately” here means “the past several months.”
MLS Soccer’s Charles Boehm sat down with not just Ayre, but more members of Nashville SC’s front office to get a vibe for the franchise as it approaches Year One.
In Nashville, Jacobs often gathers the group to discuss a range of technical decisions, from evaluating potential signings to building out NSC’s newly-hatched academy and beyond. No matter the topic at hand, an egalitarian sensibility reigns.
“The table we meet at, it’s a roundtable,” explained Jacobs, an idea he transplanted from his time as an assistant coach at Duke University. “And that may sound cliched or hokey, but the roundtable is really important to me … So when you’re in there, doors closed, we’re all the same. It’s not like weighted or valued as far as whose opinion means more.
Plenty more of interest in that one, and another recent feature from the mothership, as well.
A feature in the Independent, some boilerplate stuff for those who typically follow along. He was the cover man on FC Business magazine’s October issue. Again, probably nothing ground-breaking for fans who follow closely, but a worthwhile read.
Bargaining collectively. Cincinnati Soccer Talk on the importance of CBA negotiations:
As fans, an increase in the amount of player revenue and an increase in the salary cap for each club is important because it will allow players in the league to earn a higher salary. Consequently, because of the higher salaries that would be offered in MLS, more skilled players will bring their talents to the league, resulting in a better product on the field. This increase in on-field quality will likely increase the number of fans that attend matches in person or watch them on TV.
Freeing up more money for salaries of the player pool certainly is and should be a priority. I also think the MLSPA will go after smaller (but perhaps larger symbolically) concessions, like an increase in the number of charter flights per team – currently four times per season – which are not included in the terms of the current CBA.
The current CBA expires Jan. 31, and the parties to it – the Players’ Association and the league – had until 60 days before that (Dec. 2 of this year) to formally notify the other in writing of an intention to re-negotiate. There was never a formal announcement of that intention from either party, but negotiations are ongoing.
Exhibit A in incredible soccer writing. This piece on Christian Pulisic is incredible. The description of the difference between the young American and the player he’s ostensibly replacing is the sort of thing that you’d never think of, and simultaneously obvious once you read it.
He absorbs the ball with a deft first touch and a tight turning circle. But there are differences between them, too. In his barrelling energy and provocative runs, Hazard wants to be seen at all times. Pulisic, by contrast, wants to disappear.
Bravo, Jonathan Liew.
Police Soccer Academy 2: Their First Assignment. Sacramento Republic is joining Major League Soccer after the likes of Cincinnati (who, you may not have heard, actually started last season! Somebody better inform their technical staff that it’s time to get an MLS roster built!), Miami, and Nashville. The Republic won’t be playing catch-up when it comes to an academy, though.
“There’s no question that’s going to be part of our philosophy,” Republic general manager Todd Dunivant told MLSsoccer.com. “We have a great talent base here in the Sacramento region. There are players we’re eying for Homegrown talent. We’re going to use these next two years to showcase these guys and get them ready for MLS.”
Obviously, academy talent is just one slice of constructing the roster. Alongside the stars of tomorrow, Republic will use their remaining two seasons in the USL Championship to look at a number of players with potential to join the MLS roster.
Other aspects of their eventual build are yet-to-be determined, but from my perspective, “more academies” is, to put it bluntly, “good!”
Support your local. Nashville SC is far from the only game in town… and Nashville United has qualified for the 2020 US Open Cup.
The composition of the team is nuts, with former Lipscomb (and NSC U-23) midfielder Logan Paynter suiting up next to… uh, it says here, “the guy who led Tampa Bay Rowdies in scoring in 2018?” That man – 34-year old Bulgarian Georgi Hristov – and Paynter each scored a pair of goals in Nashville United’s win-and-in match.
The team is the first-ever Open Division Local team from Tennessee to qualify, though Inter Nashville and (obviously) Nashville SC have participated as members of national leagues.
Etc.: Opta is building a possession-value framework. The ways in which it differs from those at American Soccer Analysis will be interesting (some of those ways already apparent). … Former NSC striker Ropapa Mensah holding a hometown tournament for the second straight year. … Google Translate gets the credit here, but Brøndby feels it has potential Hany Mukhtar replacements already on the roster. … eSports are a thing. Nashville participates in this thing. It happens at these times. … Hometown feature on Taylor Washington’s signing. … I’m a youth-focused observer of sport (see also: above), so the MLS 22 under 22 is always interesting to me.