Nashville SC

Nashville SC officially joining MLS Next Pro in 2023

It should come as no surprise after branding and location information was recently revealed, but Nashville SC’s MLS Next Pro side will debut in 2023. From League release:

NEW YORK CITY  (August 4, 2022) – MLS NEXT Pro will field 28 clubs in 2023 with the addition of seven MLS-affiliated clubs in its second season.   

The following MLS clubs will launch MLS NEXT Pro teams in 2023: Atlanta United, Austin FC, Charlotte FC, LA Galaxy, Los Angeles Football Club, Nashville Soccer Club and New York Red Bulls.  Complete details, including team names, logos and venues, will be announced in the coming months.

The new teams will join the 20 MLS-affiliated clubs and one independent club, Rochester New York FC, currently competing in MLS NEXT Pro. With 21 clubs, the league currently consists of two conferences with two divisions each. Teams play 24 matches (12 home/12 away) across 26 weeks, with eight teams qualifying for the playoffs at the end of the regular season.  With the addition of seven clubs next season, adjustments to the competition and scheduling formats for 2023 will be announced at a later date.

Major League Soccer release

Lotta “to be named later” in there, though from Nashville’s perspective we know Huntsville, Ala. is the location, and the venue is John Hunt Park.

How Nashville will fill out the roster is a different question: with an Under-17 Academy side that was… not great… the team doesn’t have a natural pipeline of talent to fill a second professional team just yet. Expect a few promotions from that team to the MLS Next Pro squad, but more likely a number of acquisitions from the college ranks (and perhaps players who have been cast off from other MLS franchises, which has long been a source of underrated talent for the senior team).

Per the league’s roster rules, there are 24 slots for professional players and 11 for academy (amateur) players, so there’s plenty of work to be done in building out before the 2023 competition begins.

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