This is a couple days old now, but it’s been a pretty busy week. Posting now before it gets even more outdated!
How did you find out about the trade?
“It was Monday night around 8:00. I was tuning in to the Bachelor with my wife, like normal – just a normal Monday night. I got the text earlier while eating dinner from John Thorrington. He said, ‘hey are you free to talk?’ I ended up calling him right as the Bachelor was starting. He started off saying, ‘hey, this is going to be really tough to hear.’ So I immediately snapped my fingers at my wife and said, ‘oh my gosh, I’m getting traded.’ He said, ‘Nashville came in with an offer, and we’re going to be trading you there.’ My wife was like, ‘where?’ And I said, ‘Nashville, OK, yeah!’ I was super-shocked, but obviously there’s so many exciting things going on here, and the group of guys has only solidified how I felt. It’s been a great introduction with them. I was really excited to be here.”
What was your wife Sally’s reaction to the news?
“Pretty wide-eyed and her jaw dropped to the floor. Couldn’t believe it. It’s always hard, right? Any time you get traded without having any inclination that it could happen. Definitely a surprise, but once that shock factor settled in, the next 48 hours or so after that conversation, we started to transition in her mind. I’m here, I’m all in, and going to be that way.”
How has the settling process in Nashville gone?
“It’s a complete whirlwind for sure. Just the past week – and a huge thanks to everyone involved with Nashville back in Nashville who’s been helping take me around town. Erin Minshew did a great job just kind of showing me the area. We actually did so much house-hunting, and we ended up actually just hearing back yesterday that our offer was accepted on a house. We knocked it out. Like I said, I’m all-in, and a crazy transition, but that’s one of the things that we’re really excited about: having our first home, and we’ll hopefully be here for a while.”
Have you had to adjust to a new culture, and has anyone helped with that?
“Thankfully, I have a good bit of guys who I actually knew beforehand. I’ve known Dax [McCarty], I’m good friends with [Dan] Lovitz from the national team. I knew Eric Miller from all the youth teams, and Dave Romney a little bit from the MLSPA. So immediately coming in, I was able to talk to all of those guys even before I met with the team, to kind of get the rundown on how things were going, what the coach was like. I’m now just getting to know everyone else: hanging out with them, writing fans, eating meals together, it’s been great. Honestly, it’s been such a welcome surprise at the chemistry that’s already been developed in a month here. That’s a testament to the players, the coaches, and just really the whole organization for how connected and cultivated for how they make it feel.”
How did you experience or get through the shock of knowing you’re uprooting your life?
“There’s a lot of natural human emotions that you’re going to feel with that. There’s sadness for sure, because it’s not like we were unhappy or ungrateful or there was turmoil or anything. We were all-in, fully invested there, same way I’m going to be here. You’re right: you’re leaving a lot of friends, teammates, neighbors, and a lot of people that you really care about and were investing in. That’s the hard part. Thankfully for me, I have a team now, so I have immediate friends. For my wife, making sure she gets plugged in: luckily there’s a great group of significant others from this team, and then thankfully I actually know some people from the Nashville area from the college days and some family.”
Does having gone through an expansion team’s first season (with LAFC in 2018) before help you this time around?
“100%. I mean, not many people can say that they’ve been a part of two expansion teams already., There is a lot of valuable experience to draw from. I was very pleasantly surprised with how things seem to be running in all aspects. That’s a tribute to how well all the staff and front office have created this thing to work. I’m excited to get back to Nashville, see what the setup’s like there, because obviously I haven’t had any trainings there. From what preseason’s been like for me so far, it’s been really impressive with the setup and with the chemistry that’s naturally already here with guys who have been together for less a month.”
What are the differences with this expansion team than the first?
“You have to recognize that as a player, things are going to be different. It’s kind of similar to when you leave your club duties and go in to the national team. They’re going to play a different way, the culture’s going to be a little different, but when you’re there, you have to be 100% invested in that group, because that’s the way that group at that time is going to succeed. I’m definitely going to take things I learned in LA – that whole process of starting out – having a good first year. At the same time, it’s recognizing what we’re trying to do here as a team in Nashville, fully committing to that, and seeing how I can help be a part of it.”
Walker Zimmerman photo courtesy Nashville SC