Nashville Rhythm set to open home slate on May 25
The Nashville Soccer Supporters Trust aims to support soccer in all of Nashville, and it’s with that in mind, that we share the thoughts of our president David Wasiolek ahead of the home opener for Nashville Rhythm FC later this week.
On a cool spring evening upon the emerald pitch of Father Ryan High School’s Giacosa Stadium, some of the finest athletes in Tennessee are going through their paces. Like an elegantly choreographed waltz, they dance a checkered sphere around the field with precision and speed. With no break in their step, they move from drill to drill like champion ball room dancers.
This work of art is the Nashville Rhythm FC women’s soccer team practicing for the start of their new season. Comprised of the “best of the best” of women’s amateur soccer players, they come from as far flung places as Brazil, Mexico, and Costa Rica. Here, they join a healthy core of homegrown college talent from Tennessee and other states in the hope of becoming a key member of a Rhythm side looking to continue making an impact in women’s soccer.
For those who are not aware, Rhythm FC is Nashville’s representative in the world’s largest female soccer organization - the Women’s Premier Soccer League, (WPSL). Some of the more notable alumni of the WPSL include Abby Wambach, Brandi Chastain and Alex Morgan. Playing perhaps the highest level of amateur soccer in the world, the WPSL is comprised of 119 clubs from across the United States divided into four regions and five conferences in each region. This structure keeps teams in conferences that allow them to play squads that are geographically close and thereby create natural rivalries. Nashville is in the South East Conference of the Southern Division which includes, among others, rival cities Chattanooga and Memphis. With a fast-paced exciting style of play, Rhythm FC has been a force on the pitch in their first two seasons, and there is great optimism for the upcoming slate. In addition to the highly entertaining play, the WPSL also acts as a developmental league for professional teams throughout the world.
In this regard, Nashville has seen considerable success as well. In just its first two years of existence, multiple alumni have moved on to sign contracts to play professionally, with the most recent signings being Olivia Mills (Israel’s Maccabi Kishronot Hadera FC), Anna Buhigas (Italy’s AGSM Verona CF) and Kate Mason (Sweden’s Telge United FF).
This year, Nashville had approximately 60 of the best amateur players in the country vying to earn a coveted spot on the squad. The influx of new talent builds nicely on a strong core of returning players such as: Kiyomi Cook, (WPSL’s 2018 Defensive Player of the Year), Peyton Depriest, (former U18 Woman’s National Teamer and Conference USA’s 2018 Offensive Player of the Year for Middle Tennessee State), and Haley Hopkins, (All-American for Vanderbilt and 2019 U23 Women’s National Team member), to name just a few.
Guiding this impressive group of athletes is Rhythm owner Obed Compean and head coach Scott Davidson. A former professional player and coach himself, Compton is the “man behind the curtain” guiding Nashville for the last three years. Each season he has built and improved the team and its infrastructure. This year, the team is adding coaching staff and new and enthusiastic sponsors such as lead sponsor Ibiza. In addition, the team is enhancing the game day experience at its beautiful home field at Father Ryan, to include DJ and live music as well as new food choices.
Meanwhile, the man responsible for crafting this collection of talent into a well-oiled machine is Davidson, who is entering his third year with the team. He hails from Newarthill, Scotland, where he was a product of the Scottish youth pro development system. Davidson came to the US and played his college ball at Bryan College and then went on to play at both the professional and semi-pro levels, including two years with the now-defunct Nashville Metros. At the same time as he was playing, Scott held a variety of college coaching positions and today, in addition to his duties with Rhythm FC, he is a coach at Cumberland University and the Nashville United Soccer Academy.
With the home opener of the new season on May 25 and a matchup against key rival the Chattanooga Red Wolves just a few days later, there is a growing excitement in the air about the team. With the influx of talent the coaching staff is enthusiastic about this year’s squad and while Davidson refuses to give a prediction, it is hard to miss the excitement in his voice as he talks about the team and the upcoming season.
For more on Nashville Rhythm FC, click here.
2019 Nashville Rhythm FC Schedule
May 17 — W, 3-1 at North Alabama SC
May 19 — W, 2-1 at Memphis Lobos
May 25 — Alabama FC (Father Ryan HS) — 6:30 p.m.
May 31 — Chattanooga Red Wolves FC (Father Ryan HS) — 7 p.m.
June 8 — Peachtree City MOBA (Father Ryan HS) — 7 p.m.
June 15 — at Chattanooga Red Wolves FC — 7:30 p.m.
June 19 — at Peachtree City MOBA — 6:30 p.m.
June 23 — at Alabama FC — 3 p.m.
June 28 — North Alabama SC (Father Ryan HS) — 7 p.m.
June 30 — Memphis Lobos (Father Ryan HS) — 4 p.m.