From club release:
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Feb. 23, 2023) – Nashville Soccer Club announced today the contract extension of Head Coach Gary Smith and his coaching staff through the 2025 Major League Soccer season. Smith’s extension comes after three successful inaugural seasons reaching the playoffs consecutively, a feat only expansion sides Atlanta United FC, Chicago Fire FC, LAFC, and Seattle Sounders FC have ever accomplished.
“We are thankful of the leadership that Gary and his coaching staff have provided, and excited to reward them as they continue to lead us into the future,” said Nashville SC General Manager Mike Jacobs. “Finishing joint fourth place in the Western Conference standings last season after the challenging travel and starting the season with the first eight matches on the road is no small feat, and we appreciate the direction that Gary, his coaching staff, and the players are heading in.”
“The team and city hold a special place in my heart, bonds that have been forged through some challenging times in our early history, so I couldn’t be happy to be extending my time here and helping the push towards bigger and better things on the field.” – Nashville SC Head Coach Gary Smith
Smith was originally named the club’s first MLS head coach on March 6, 2019, while he was serving as the head coach of the USL Championship side. He has since established a strong foundation, bringing a competitive edge to Nashville with a gritty mentality that led the Boys in Gold to the Eastern Conference Semifinals in the club’s expansion year despite the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Nashville SC returned to the Eastern Conference Semifinals a year later, as Smith and his staff led the Boys in Gold to a historic unbeaten season at home. The streak extended to the 2022 campaign and reached 22 regular season matches and 25 across all competitions.
This past season Nashville SC earned its highest win total in club history (13) which led them to the Western Conference Quarterfinals, despite having started 2023 with eight matches on the road. During that road stretch, Smith’s side set a league record for most points earned per game (1.38) by teams who have historically started the season with eight or more matches on the road.
Smith’s first head coaching opportunity came with the Colorado Rapids in the 2008 MLS season when he was named interim Head Coach for the final five matches. He was awarded the full-time job in 2009 and led the Rapids to the MLS Cup title in 2010.
Prior to his time in Colorado, Smith was on the staff for numerous English clubs, including Arsenal FC and Watford FC. Following the Rapids, he was the head coach of Stevenage FC of English League One and Atlanta Silverbacks FC of the North American Soccer League.
Originally from Harlow, England, Smith began his career as a professional soccer player, making appearances for Fulham FC, Colchester United FC and Wycombe Wanderers FC, amongst others.