Most notable since Zimmerman had not previously been on a DP contract! From club release:
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (April 29, 2022) – Nashville Soccer Club announced today via a press conference led by Majority Owner John Ingram the contract extensions of Designated Player Hany Mukhtar and United States Men’s National Team player Walker Zimmerman through the 2025 Major League Soccer season. Mukhtar’s contract has an option to be extended through 2026.
In addition to the contract extension, Ingram introduced Zimmerman as the club’s newest Designated Player, becoming the fourth centerback and second American defender to receive DP status in MLS history.
“We have really approached every aspect of this club with intentionality and extending Hany and Walker is just another example of that,” said Ingram. “Both of these guys have the right mix of leadership and talent on the pitch as well as off. Making sure we can keep these pillars of the team intact through 2025 has been an important priority.”
The pairing of Mukhtar and Zimmerman have been engrained in Nashville’s MLS history, with Zimmerman scoring the first goal in the club’s MLS history on a set piece service from Mukhtar in the inaugural match against Atlanta United FC on Feb. 29, 2020.
Since that day, the dynamic play of Mukhtar and Zimmerman has led Nashville SC to historic heights becoming the first modern expansion club to win a playoff round in each of its first two MLS seasons. Additionally, the pairing turned Nashville into the seventh team in league history to go a full season unbeaten at home.
Mukhtar has been sensational since joining Major League Soccer, registering 26 goals and 20 assists in 58 matches. In 2021, Mukhtar registered 28 combined goals and assists, the most of any player, as he scored the fastest hat trick in MLS history with three goals in the span of six minutes.
The midfielder finished the 2021 regular season as the MLS MVP runner-up and went on to scoring the first brace in Nashville SC’s playoff history in a First-Round win over Orlando City SC. Mukhtar finished the playoffs with the most goals of any player through the first two rounds.
The eight-time MLS Team of the Week and twice MLS Player of the Week has been involved in 34 regular season goals for Nashville SC since the start of the 2021 MLS season, seven more than any other player in the league in that time. The Boys in Gold have never lost a match in the regular season when Mukhtar finds the back of the net.
Zimmerman continues to shine in Nashville after being named the MLS Defender of the Year both seasons, becoming just the third-ever MLS player to win the award in back-to-back seasons and the first in over a decade. The defender was also selected to the MLS Best XI for the third consecutive season in 2021.
The U.S. international was part of a Nashville SC defense that was tied for the league lead in shutouts with 13 and anchored Nashville SC to a goals-against average of 0.96 in his appearances in the 2021 regular season in route to an MLS All-Star selection. The center back also anchored a Nashville SC backline that conceded the fewest goals on the road last season (15).
At the international level Zimmerman was crucial in the U.S. MNT’s 2022 FIFA World Cup™ qualification, captaining the States and appearing in 10 World Cup Qualifying matches. The club and country captain owns a 6W-2L-2D record, five clean sheets and a goal-differential of +10.
Zimmerman’s highlighted performance came on Feb. 3, 2022 when the centerback registered a goal and an assist while captaining the U.S. to a 3-0 victory over Honduras.
Fans will be able to witness the newly extended duet on May 1 when Nashville SC inaugurates GEODIS Park against the Philadelphia Union starting at 3 p.m. CT on ESPN and ESPN Deportes.