Nashville Soccer Club introduced Gary Smith as its first MLS coach during a press conference on Wednesday.
Smith was hired as Nashville SC's head coach and technical director in April 2017 for its inaugural United Soccer League season and will be retained for the franchise's MLS debut in 2020.
“I am grateful to John Ingram, Ian Ayre, and the rest of our ownership for their faith in me to lead this club on the field as we join Major League Soccer,” Smith said. “I look forward to continuing to work with Mike Jacobs as we build our MLS squad for next season. I love the community, the fans and the excitement around soccer in Nashville, and I am delighted that this city will continue to be my home for the coming years.”
Nashville SC advanced to the USL Cup Playoffs and was one of three non-MLS teams to advance to the round of 16 in the U.S. Open Cup last season.
“Selecting the right coach is one of the most important tasks at any club,” said Nashville SC CEO Ian Ayre. “As we set out to build our MLS team and Mike (Jacobs) and I conducted our search throughout the game for a head coach, we always kept coming back to Gary as the first and best candidate for the job.”
Smith began his head coaching career with the Colorado Rapids in 2009 and became the first English coach to win the MLS cup in his second season. He had previously worked as an assistant on numerous English clubs including Arsenal FC and Watford FC.
The former midfielder made appearances for Fulham FC, Colchester United FC and Wycombe Wanderers FC, among several other teams during his playing career.
Smith also managed Stevenage (2012-13) and the Atlanta Silverbacks (2014-16) before joining Nashville SC.
Nashville SC will begin its final USL Championship season on March 9 when it hosts Loudoun United FC at First Tennessee Park.