It probably comes as no surprise that Nashville SC management is pleased with the performance of General Manager Mike Jacobs. The Boys in Gold have consistently been a top-half MLS team (and better than that after the unconventional nature of the inaugural season), despite being on the lower end of the payroll ledger. Today, he has been rewarded for it.
From club release:
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (July 20, 2022) – Nashville Soccer Club announced today the contract extension of General Manager Mike Jacobs through 2026. Jacobs originally joined Nashville SC in 2018 and has constructed rosters with his recruitment staff that have made the playoffs in each season he’s been at the helm at both the MLS and USL Championship level.
In this calendar year alone, Jacobs and his department have bolstered the Nashville SC roster by signing highly touted midfielder Sean Davis via free agency and extending the contracts of MLS Best XI players Hany Mukhtar and Walker Zimmerman, keeping the two MLS All-Stars in Nashville through 2025.
Zimmerman was acquired by Nashville SC prior to the 2020 season in a blockbuster deal that has paid dividends for Nashville as Zimmerman has won MLS Defender of the Year and MLS Best XI in both seasons with Nashville and scored the first goal in club history on Feb. 29, 2020.
The first Designated Player signed by the club has proven to be among the best playmakers in MLS to date in Hany Mukhtar. Signed in 2019, the German finished second in the MVP voting in 2021, has accounted for more than half of Nashville’s goals in club history and is currently second in MLS in goals scored this season with 12.
This transfer window has been active for Nashville with the signing of U.S. Men’s National Team Defender Shaq Moore to an already historic defense. With the addition of Moore, the Nashville SC backline has a combined 59 caps for the USMNT in Moore, Zimmerman and Dan Lovitz.
During his time as General Manager, Jacobs and the Nashville SC staff built an inaugural roster by using an innovative analytics approach and an eye for chemistry that resulted in immediate and future success for the club. The roster was constructed with wealth of MLS leadership combined with international young talent that included Aníbal Godoy, Dax McCarty and Dan Lovitz, as well as Costa Rican star Randall Leal.
Nashville SC’s rosters since its inception reached the MLS Eastern Conference Semifinals in both seasons as an MLS club while setting a new record for goals against average for an expansion side (0.96 GAA).
Jacobs originally joined Nashville SC after serving as Sporting Kansas City’s assistant technical director from 2015 to 2017, where they won the 2015 and 2017 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup and reached the MLS playoffs in each season.Nashville SC Release
Jacobs’s NSC tenure has had plenty of hits. Even huge Allocation Money outlays for intraleague players like Aníbal Godoy and Walker Zimmerman look worth every penny at this point. Identifying Hany Mukhtar as the club’s first designated player (and Randall Leal as a DP who could later be bought down with Targeted Allocation Money) has been an unmitigated success – particularly given a transfer fee dwarfed by those for incoming players who have… not been great around the league.
There have also been misses. First-year signings Miguel Nazarit and Brayan Beckeles were on hefty salary numbers, and neither meaningfully contributed to the club (which ultimately bought out Nazarit’s contract after the 2021 season). Designated Player Aké Loba looks to date like he’ll never live up to a club-record transfer fee. Some intraleague players signed with known injury risks (such as Abu Danladi and Jimmy Medranda) weren’t healthy enough to consistently contribute in their time with the club.
But of course, the big picture is what’s important, and it’s the job of a GM to get the most on-field value out of the budget he’s given, and even given some imperfect personnel choices, you’d have a hard time arguing Jacobs has done less than that.