Nashville SC

Nashville SC announces assistant coaches for 2020

Nashville SC’s coaching staff is complete for the 2020 season, including two members of last year’s USL group plus another coach with some history in the Expanded Gary Smith Universe: 

NASHVILLE (Jan.  8, 2020) – Nashville Soccer Club announced today the appointment of Steve Guppy, Brett Jacobs and Matt Pickens to its coaching staff ahead of its inaugural Major League Soccer season. Guppy and Jacobs will join Head Coach Gary Smith as assistants while Pickens will come onboard as goalkeeper coach.

The foursome reunites after a long history together in which they went on to conquer the 2010 MLS Cup with the Colorado Rapids. Guppy and Jacobs both joined Smith in Colorado at the start of the 2009 campaign, with Pickens playing in net. In their first season together, the Rapids reached the 10-win plateau that included a .700 winning percentage at home.

While together in Colorado, the four generated great success in the Mile-High City. From 2009 through 2011 the Rapids saw double-digit wins in every season, a stretch that also included 34 regular season wins, two MLS Cup Playoff appearances and an MLS Cup in the three-year span. In 2010 the Rapids allowed just 32 goals during the season, tied for the fewest allowed in a season in franchise history.

Under the coaching of Smith, Guppy and Jacobs, Pickens posted career-high numbers as the starter in net. In the two-year stretch, Pickens recorded 23 wins, 15 shutouts and 164 saves. Pickens’ numbers during their regime proved instrumental in holding all-time Rapids goalkeeping records.

Most recently Smith joined Nashville SC in 2018, with Pickens as his starting goalkeeper and Jacobs joining his staff in 2019. The group saw success with back-to-back postseason appearances in the club’s two USL Championship seasons, with Pickens receiving the 2019 Golden Glove Award and racking up 28 clean sheets in two seasons.

Tickets to Nashville SC’s inaugural MLS match against Atlanta United, presented by Renasant Bank, are available through Season Ticket Memberships starting at just $425 ($25 per game). Be sure to secure your place in history with the best seats for Feb. 29 and throughout the inaugural season by visiting NashvilleSC.com/Tickets or calling 615-750-8800.

Fans remember Pickens primarily as last year’s USL goalkeeper of the year and Golden Gloves winner, but he was a player-coach on the staff (along with defender Kosuke Kimura, who remains involved in the club as an academy coach). Jacobs was Smith’s first assistant last season, and is perhaps most notable as the headman during a game and a half in September.

That duo sees another former Rapids assistant join the fold in the form of assistant Steve Guppy. The 50-year old resigned as a Rochester Rhinos player-coach – after a playing career that spanned several lower-level and Premier League teams in England, plus a stint with DC United – to join Smith’s Rapids staff in 2010, where he and Jacobs helped Smith coach the way (and Pickens kept goal on the way) to an MLS Cup.

Guppy played as a winger, and has primarily focused on that position during a coach tenure that has included stints with the Premier League’s Sunderland (in a part-time appointment) 2012-13, and the Republic of Ireland from 2014-18. He spent last season as a volunteer assistant with Port Vale, which finished 20th in the English Football League Two (fourth division in England).

Nashville SC will potentially need some good coaching at the forward and wing positions, with a potential-laden but unproven assemblage of talent. Getting the most out of the wingers could help the team compensate for the lack of a 15-goal striker (or generate one with excellent service).

With the news, we’re getting very close to the “here’s what’s gonna happen this season” phase of preseason wrapping up. The kit reveal next weekend and completion of the roster are about it.

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