With Inter Miami and even Austin FC having already held tryouts for their first development academy teams it is odd Nashville SC still hasn’t announced any plans. I know it’s coming and after speaking to an employee at the school and another well connected Nashville soccer person I’m confident enough to say it will be a residential development academy located at Currey Ingram. 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 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 are a big fan of the residential aspect given there just isn’t enough population in Middle Tennessee to have the talent to fill it any other way. Many other MLS academies, like Atlanta, are non residential. We understand the argument made by Carlos Bocanegra that letting academy players have as normal a life as possible 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.
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? Also, I assume Nashville SC will start the DA with at least a couple of teams before the residential DA is ready. Will that also be at Currey Ingram or will they temporarily place it somewhere else like Ensworth? Ian Ayre has hinted that an announcement is coming sooner rather than later. I hope so as every month that goes by Nashville SC just seems to be falling further behind where Inter Miami is in almost everything other than a new stadium.