John Ingram confirmed August 1 during an interview on WSM 650 with George Plaster that a residential development academy will be located at Currey Ingram. He mentioned turning the existing baseball fields into soccer fields and building “boarding facilities”. This makes sense on a lot of levels, but like most things is not perfect. To learn more about MLS Development Academies checkout our MLS 101 article that dives into it and how Minnesota United and Atlanta United approached their youth systems.
Currey Ingram is school located at 6544 Murray Lane, Brentwood (Williamson County) with over 300 students (kindergarten through 12th grade). The school’s mission is, “empowering students with learning differences to achieve their fullest potential.” The school which just celebrated its 50th anniversary earlier this year. It used to be in Nashville, but in 2002 moved to its current location thanks to a large gift from John Ingram and his wife, Stephanie Currey Ingram. That’s the obvious connection. The owner of Nashville SC has a long history and connection to the school. Currey Ingram is great resource for not just for Middle Tennessee families that need this type of school, but for everyone. Their website states, “families from 33 states and eight countries cite the school as their primary reason for moving to Middle Tennessee.” Despite having under 350 students their campus is large covering 83 acres. So there is enough room to build a residential development academy.
I’m a big fan of the residential aspect given there just isn’t enough population in Middle Tennessee. Many other MLS academies, like Atlanta, are non residential. I get the argument made by Carlos Bocanegra that letting academy players have as normal life is ideal. It’s great if they can go home every night and eat with their families and see their neighborhood friends. However, that just can’t happen with Nashville SC due to the population density in Middle Tennessee.
Why Not in Nashville?
Of course I would have preferred a Nashville SC DA be in the Music City. I was hopeful that the Fairgrounds might somehow have enough land or possibly Ensworth High School where the USL team frequently practices. It was not to be. However it’s not that big a deal for families in Davidson County. Unlike many other MLS cities, Nashville is a driving town. The only public transportation are buses with limited access. Driving to Brentwood takes anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour depending on time of day. It’s not that far.
What I don’t know is when will the residential DA at Currey Ingram be up and running? How many teams will there be?
Update October 14
Club finally announced the DA. The new details are
“The Academy will start by launching its Boys U12 (2008) age group team to compete in the Generation adidas Cup over Thanksgiving weekend (Nov. 28-30) in Atlanta, followed by the introduction of U13 (2008), U14 (2007) and U15 (2006) teams in the 2020/2021 season.”
Tryouts for the U12 are October 25, at Montgomery Bell Academy. By starting with oldest being U15, Nashville SC is following in Minnesota’s footsteps. It will be years before any Nashville SC Academy player sees meaningful minutes for the first team. Some investments are long term.
The other major detail is Jamie Smith was announced as academy director. You can read his resume on the Nashville SC press release.