Ferguson/Newson family named Fans of the Match

As anyone who has ever attended a Nashville SC match in person can attest, it’s customary for the club to recognize an outstanding performance on the pitch with the Man of the Match award. It is in this spirit that the Nashville Soccer Supporters Trust will select a Fan of the Match following each home date to recognize the breadth of the incredible supporters that come out to each NSC match and help will the team to victory week in and week out.

Following Wednesday’s match against Atlanta United 2, the Trust has selected the Ferguson/Newson family. The group, which spans three generations, travels two hours from Jackson, Tenn., every match to support the Boys in Gold.

On most match days, the family is represented by Suzie Ferguson, her daughter Shena Newson as well as Newson’s two children Westleigh and Loryn. The family’s interest in the sport stems from when Westleigh began playing when he was younger. Now an eighth grader for West Bemis Middle School, Westleigh plays as a speedy right back for both his school and his club team, the Jackson 05 Wolves. Meanwhile, Loryn has followed her grandmother’s footsteps to take up cheerleading.

Westleigh’s pace on the pitch comes to him naturally, as his mother was a scholarship track athlete for Howard University. Over the course of her career, she competed in both sprints and long jump, where she would often find herself competing against world class athletes from around the country, including former Olympians like Marion Jones.

While the kids missed a rare match on Wednesday, it did allow for their grandfather, Butch “Mercer” Ferguson to attend his first-ever NSC match. A man to be reckoned with in his own right, Ferguson is a former athlete as well, having played defensive back for West Point before going on to become a major in the Army. During the first Gulf War in the early 1990s, he was responsible for commanding a company of attack helicopters. 

The family first connected with NSC organically, spotting people wearing the team’s t-shirts, and that grew through links to the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association. As Westleigh’s burgeoning soccer career continued, they made the trek to Nashville to see the game played on the professional level. The family fell in love instantly with the intimate surroundings of First Tennessee Park as well as the diversity among fans. Shena especially appreciates that, between sipping on Icees and cheering on her and Westleigh’s favorite players (Justin Davis and Matt Pickens), she can hear three or four different languages being spoken around her.

While the first season has been quite an experience for the whole family, they’re very much looking forward to many more, especially as the team moves on to Major League Soccer.

So, on the next visit to First Tennessee Park, make sure to wish a welcoming hello to the Ferguson/Newson family, our first Fans of the Match.

Clay Trainum