NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Fans itching to see the Lipscomb men’s soccer team in action this spring will not have to wait much longer.
Head coach Charles Morrow and his Bisons are excited to announce a March 1 friendly that will bring Nashville SC of the United Soccer League (USL) to campus for a 4 p.m. meeting on the turf at the Lipscomb Soccer Complex.
Tickets are now on sale and can be purchased online HERE or by calling the Lipscomb Ticket Office at (615) 966-4373. Admission for the event is $10 for adults and $5 for children ages 6-12. Anyone aged five and under will be admitted for FREE.
“We are excited to be a part in preparing Nashville SC for its first season as a professional club,” said Morrow. “The energy and momentum behind soccer in Nashville right now is unprecedented. We are also preparing for our 2018 fall season and having the opportunity to play a professional side is a barometer for us right now as players are taking on new roles in our spring season.”
Although the Bisons have played professional teams during the spring in recent years, this meeting will mark the first-ever match with a professional side at the Lipscomb Soccer Complex.
The soccer scene in Music City is at an all-time high after Major League Soccer (MLS) awarded Nashville a MLS franchise in its latest round of expansion, which is set to begin play in the league in 2020. The match between Lipscomb and Nashville SC not only gives fans of each side a glimpse of what’s to come in their upcoming seasons, but a glimpse into the future of the game of soccer.
“It is a pleasure to play against such a successful local university here in Nashville,” said Nashville SC head coach Gary Smith. “This gives us a great opportunity to continue to evaluate the depth we have on our roster.”
Nashville SC opened its inaugural season over the weekend with a preseason friendly against Atlanta United FC of the MLS in front of more than 9,000 rain-soaked fans at First Tennessee Park, ultimately dropping the contest 3-1.
When the two sides lineup on the pitch on March 1, there will be a familiar face to Lipscomb soccer fans on the visitors side in former Bison goalkeeper Micah Bledsoe.
Bledsoe was signed to the Nashville SC roster last weekend after spending the 2017 season with USL Cup champion – Louisville City FC. The 6-foot-4 netminder hung up his Bison uniform in 2016 as the program’s all-time leader in wins (26), save percentage (.735) and clean sheets (15). He also finished just three stops shy of setting the school’s all-time mark for career saves and was a 5-time ASUN Defensive Player of the Week recipient.
Lipscomb is coming off a historic season in which the 2017 Bisons achieved what no other Bison team in program history ever had – an ASUN Conference Championship and a berth into the NCAA Tournament.
The Bisons wrapped the season with a record of 11-8-2 after falling to No. 15 Butler, 2-0, in the first round of the NCAAs.
Led by strikers Logan Paynter and Ivan Sakou, the Bisons led the ASUN with 36 goals and ranked 30th in the nation in goals per game (1.80) and in shots per game (14.55).
Paynter, with 26 career scores, will enter his final season in Nashville just seven goals shy of becoming the top goal scorer in program history. Sakou’s 14 career goals are the most by any Bison who played two years or fewer in the program, and he ended his career 6th all-time on the scoring chart.
Goalkeeper Chris Zappia became the program’s all-time wins leader in a single season after earning 11 victories between the pipes. He finished top-10 in the nation with 1967:41 minutes in net.
The match with Nashville SC gives Lipscomb a fifth and final game to its 2018 spring slate. Its next game will be on March 7 when the Bisons travel to Elizabethtown, Kentucky to take on Louisville City FC. Their home portion of the spring schedule will resume on April 14 when Memphis visits the Music City.