New Group To Promote Nashville’s Major League Soccer Bid

New Group To Promote Nashville’s Major League Soccer Bid Expanded “MLS2Nashville” Committee Will Champion Nashville’s MLS bid and Push for Record-Breaking Attendance at July 8th CONCACAF Gold Cup match

Nashville, TN. – Top business, civic and sports leaders gathered at Nissan Stadium today to announce the launch of MLS2Nashvillea new group of over 100 Middle Tennesseans committed to bringing a Major League Soccer (MLS) to Music City.

“This is a special time for Nashville,” said Nashville Mayor Megan Barry. “I’m proud to see so many coming together to support the growth of the global game in Nashville and elevate our profile on a national and international stage.”

“A united Nashville is hard to beat,” said John R. Ingram, the lead investor for Nashville’s MLS expansion bid and majority owner of Nashville SC, the United Soccer League (USL) club set to launch in 2018. “I’m incredibly grateful to see so many folks rallying behind this effort – not only to support our push for MLS, but also to grow the game at every level.”

As part of the announcement, MLS2Nashville leaders also announced that Tennessee Titans icon Eddie George and supermodel and philanthropist Lily Aldridge will serve as honorary co-chairs.

“I’m thrilled and humbled to join Eddie as an Honorary Co-Chair of MLS2Nashville,” Aldridge said. “This initiative brings together two of my passions – my love for soccer, and my love for Nashville. I can’t wait to join with this incredible group in showcasing why Music City is Soccer City.”

MLS2Nashville represents an expansion and reorganization of the original Nashville MLS Organizing Committee founded by Will Alexander and Bill Hagerty in 2016. The group played a seminal role in launching Nashville’s pursuit of MLS, assembling corporate support for the bid, securing the July 8th Gold Cup at Nissan Stadium, and recruiting Ingram. Hagerty and Alexander will continue to serve as founders and co-chairs of MLS2Nashville.

“Nashville demonstrated unmatched community support for this bid through our initial organizing committee. We came together last year to demonstrate to the rest of the country that Nashville is indeed a major league city,” said Hagerty, who was recently nominated to be the U.S. ambassador to Japan. “The new MLS2Nashville group allows us to build a bigger tent and get even more folks involved in this unique and historic opportunity.”

MLS2Nashville consists of over 100 Middle Tennesseans who are passionate about bringing the MLS to Nashville. Members include chief executives of some the area’s largest companies, former international soccer players, and grassroots soccer fans. This group is expected to grow in size as Nashville moves closer to its ultimate goal of being an MLS city. While MLS2Nashville will replace the MLS Organizing Committee, the original members of the organizing committee—together with a few others who have made significant early contributions to Nashville’s MLS bid—will serve on a subset of MLS2Nashville called the “Founders Council.”

MLS2Nashville’s first initiative – nicknamed the “#GoldRecord” Challenge – will be an ambitious one: to break the record at the July 8thGold Cup for the most people to ever watch a soccer game in Tennessee. The match will take place at Nissan Stadium and feature the U.S. Men’s National Team against Panama.  The current attendance record is 44,835, set during the U.S. men’s national team match against Guatemala at Nissan Stadium on July 3, 2015.

“Setting a new #GoldRecord would send a powerful statement to MLS,” said Alexander. “ We know that Nashville is a great sports town that loves soccer. This is our chance to prove the strength of our market at a critical juncture in the race for MLS.”

Nashville is currently one of twelve cities competing to be one of the next four MLS expansion  teams. MLS League officials are expected to announce the next two expansion teams by the end of 2017.

For more information, including discounted tickets to the Gold Cup match, please visit www.mls2nashville.com.

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About the CONCACAF Gold Cup. The 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup will be the 14th edition of the CONCACAF Gold Cup, the biennial international men’s football championship of the North, Central American and Caribbean region organized by CONCACAF. The tournament will take place between July 7 and July 26, 2017.


HONORARY CO-CHAIRS


LILY ALDRIDGE
Model and PhilanthropistLily Aldridge is an acclaimed model and philanthropist.  Lily is perhaps best known for her work as a Victoria’s Secret Angel and her 50th Anniversary cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue in 2014.  Lily has also appeared in numerous advertising campaigns for Carolina Herrera, Michael Kors, Salvatore Ferragamo, Saks Fifth Avenue, Tommy Hilfiger, Anthropologie, Levi’s, and XOXO. Her beauty partnerships include Clinique, and Bobbi Brown.Lily supports St. Jude Children’s Hospital and Baby Buggy, an organization dedicated to providing essential resources to families in need. Lily partnered with Vogue and Demarchelier in 2015 for the official Born Free Africa campaign.Lily divides her time between New York City and Nashville. She is a rabid sports fan, having played soccer for over a decade during her youth.  Lily is married to Kings of Leon lead vocalist Caleb Followill. The couple welcomed their first child Dixie in June 2012.

EDDIE GEORGE
Actor, Entrepreneur and Tennessee Titans greatEddie George is a former professional athlete who played nine seasons in the National Football League. Eddie played college football for Ohio State University, won the prestigious Heisman Trophy in 1995, and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2011. He was drafted in the first round of the 1996 draft by the Tennessee Titans. During his career, Eddie was selected for four Pro-Bowls and retired in 2006 with 10,441 rushing yards and 78 touchdowns.
After football, Eddie has earned an MBA from Northwestern University and has branched out into a number of artistic, entrepreneurial and philanthropic endeavors. He is currently starring on Broadway in the musical CHICAGO, and has also performed in several other acclaimed productions.
Eddie lives in Tennessee with his wife, Grammy-award winning vocalist Tamara “Taj” Johnson-George of the R&B group SWV, and their two sons Eriq and Jaire.

CO-CHAIRS

Will Alexander, Hall Capital
Bill Hagerty, Hagerty, Petersen and Company

MEMBERS 
Note: Bolded Names are Founders’ Council members

Greg Adkins, Tennessee Hospitality & Tourism Association
Hee-Se Ahn, Hankook Tire America
Desmond Armstrong, U.S. Soccer Hall of Fame
Ken Bianchi, CKE Restaurants
Wes Boling, Hankook Tire
Phil Bredesen, Silicon Ranch Corporation
Clint Brewer, Stones River Group 
Larry Brown, Middle Tennessee Council – Boy Scouts of America
Stuart Brown, Tennessee Soccer Club
Josh Buckley, One Iron
Jeffrey Buntin, The Buntin Group
Chris Burger, CapWealth Advisors
Brian Carlson, Tennessee Soccer Club
Brigid Carpenter, Baker Donelson
Jeremiah Carter, The Ensworth School
Mary Cavarra, Ingram Industries Inc.
Ken Chin, KAC Sports Strategies
Ramon Cisneros, Millennium Marketing
Agenia Clark, Girl Scouts of Middle Tennessee
Bradley Collins,BMI
Toby Compton, Associated Builders and Contractors of Greater Tennessee
Shari Day, BOHAN
Jaynee Day, Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee
Beth DeBauche, Ohio Valley Conference
Julie Dennie, Redpepper
David Dill, DMD Soccer
Aaron Dorn, SFH Pursuit Company
Hutton Eadie, Episode Solutions
Tomaz Fernandes, Premier Consulting & Integration
Lucia Folk, CMT
Ben Freeland, Freeland Management
Bill Frist, Cressey & Company
Gary Garfield, Bridgestone Americas (retired)  
Howard Gentry, Metropolitan Nashville and Davidson Co.
Max Goldberg, Strategic Hospitality
Ryan Gooch, Fiveworx
Josh Greear, Cracker Barrel
Derek Greene, Tennessee State Soccer Association
Lucas Hagerty, 3 Sons Media
Alex Harris, Turner & Townsend
Chris Hart, Experian Health
Sean Henry, Nashville Predators
Caroline Hipps, Wellspire
Hans Hobson, Tennessee State Soccer Association
Laura Hollingsworth, USA Today Network / Tennessee
Matt Houston, Beachy
John Huie, Creative Artists Agency 
Tracey Jackson, YMCA of Middle Tennessee
Mark Janbakhsh, Auto Masters 
Dan Jernigan, Boys & Girls Club of Middle Tennessee
Court Jeske, Nashville SC
Milton Johnson, HCA
Mark Johnson, Mars Petcare North America
Stephen Jones, GoGo Jones
Matt Laker, Jackson Nat’l Life Insurance Co.
Megan Lawrence, Vanderbilt University
Jeff Leightman, Nashville FC Youth
Ken Levitan, Vector Management
John Lowry, Lipscomb University
Doug Marrs, StudioNow
Rob McCabe, Pinnacle Financial Partners
Shane McFarland, City of Murfreesboro
Tony McLarty, Akiva School
Caitlin Mello, SnapShot Interactive
Che Mock, ESQ Agency
José Muñoz, Nissan North America
Chris Murphy, South Nashville Action People
Tim Ozgener, Oz Arts Nashville
Caleb Patterson-Sewell, CPS Soccer Academy
Joelle Phillips, AT&T Tennessee 
Scott Ramsey, Nashville Sports Council
Chris Redhage, Provider Trust
Sam Reed, The Ingram Group
Colin Reed, Ryman Hospitality Properties
Liz Rogers, Anacrusis
Todd Rolapp, Bass, Berry & Sims
Courtney Ross, Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce
Jenny Ruiz, Nashville FC Youth
Emilio Ruocco, Evariant
Eric Satz, ALTO IRA
Fraser Schaufele, GBT Realty
Steve Schnur, Electronic Arts
Devin Schultz, Ingram Industries
Ralph Schulz, Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce
Josh Severns, Nashville FC Youth
Kelli Shannon, VML
Clay Sifford, LASSO
Jonathan Slape, American Outlaws

Brad Smith, Aspire Health

Gary Smith, Nashville SC
Renata Soto, Conexión Américas
Butch Spyridon, Nashville Convention and Visitors Corp
David Stansell, Stansell Electric Company
Barry Stowe, Jackson National Life Insurance Co.
Paul Stumb, Cumberland University 
Buddy Teaster, Souls4Soles
Santi Tefel, Young Leaders Council
Kerr Tigrett, IronHorse Capital Management
Ben Tran, Vanderbilt University
Steve Underwood, Tennessee Titans
Terry Vo, Comcast Cable
Marcus Whitney, Health:Further
David Wicker, Stites & Harbison
David Williams, Vanderbilt University
David Wilson, filmmaker
Justin Wilson, Hall Strategies
Ronnie Woodard, Tennessee Soccer Club
Uzi Yemin, Delek US Holdings
Ben Young, Mid State Sports Leagues

 

 

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