The men in blue, fueled by a euphoria I could not comprehend, shook every car that labored through the sardine-packed alleyway. They climbed lampposts. They sang. They screamed.
France had beaten Spain in the second round of the 2006 World Cup. Mere minutes after the final whistle, Paris had transformed into a soccer-mad frenzy.
So had I.
Today, Nashville is officially laying claim to its piece of the soccer pie. The Beautiful Game will have a home in our beautiful city for decades to come. For those of us who have experienced the heights and depths of the game in other parts of the world, it’s beyond gratifying that we’ll be able to experience that same passion in our own backyard.
It’s one thing to casually watch the World Cup or tune in to EPL on NBC while the weekend coffee brews. Nothing wrong with that. But it’s another thing to stand in the heart of a throng of supporters enraptured by the buildup — and sweet release — of a clutch goal in the waning moments.
When you stand on the terrace or clamor among the crowd in a sweaty bar, you aren’t just watching a game. You’re participating in a movement.
Why does today’s MLS announcement carry so much meaning for me? Why am I an eager season-ticket holder for Nashville SC’s inaugural season in 2018?
Because the movement has finally descended upon Music City. And because we will embrace the sport in a uniquely Nashville way, with the same spirit that rallied us after the 2010 flood or made Broadway a standing-room-only circus during the Preds’ run last summer.
So, celebrate with us today. But know one thing: It’s only the beginning of Music City’s transformation to Soccer City.