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The Madison Record
Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle at podium. L-R: Sports Commission Executive Director Mark Russell, Urban and Economic Development Director Shane Davis, Council Members Frances Akridge and Bill Kling.

Huntsville scores professional soccer at Joe Davis Stadium

HUNTSVILLE – Professional soccer is coming to Huntsville’s Joe Davis Stadium. Mayor Tommy Battle announced a partnership with the Nashville Soccer Club (SC) to launch its next MLS NEXT Pro team in Huntsville. The team will begin competition in the 2023 MLS NEXT Pro season.

“Soccer has consistently been one of the most popular and fastest-growing sports in our region,” said Mayor Battle. “When the City decided to renovate Joe Davis Stadium and convert its playing field to a multiuse field, we hoped pro soccer would find a way here. Today, we are proud to deliver this exciting sports amenity to our community.”

The inaugural season of MLS NEXT Pro, a new professional men’s soccer league, began in March with participation from 21 clubs. The league is committed to driving a new era of North American soccer by offering fresh opportunities to players, coaches, referees and sports business professionals.

“When we started building our MLS team in Nashville, we talked a lot about the key ingredients that made Nashville a perfect soccer city: great energy, strong business community and a real civic pride,” said Nashville SC CEO Ian Ayre. “It’s quite obvious in spending time in Huntsville that the same raw ingredients exist here. We could not be more excited about bringing an MLS NEXT Pro team to Huntsville and the amazing stadium project.”

The City will present an agreement with the pro soccer club to City Council for approval at its July 14 regular meeting. The contract will allow the City to lease the stadium to NSH NEXTCO LLC, which will operate the facility year-round. NSH NEXTCO will establish a professional soccer club affiliated with the Nashville Soccer Club, a Major League Soccer Club. The Huntsville team will compete in the newly formed MLS Next Pro league. Nashville SC and the City of Huntsville will announce more information about the team’s identity, brand and schedule in the coming months.

The renovation of Joe Davis Stadium, located in John Hunt Park at 3125 Leeman Ferry Road, Huntsville, is scheduled to be complete in May 2023. When it opens, the 6,000-seat facility will accommodate other groups, including Huntsville City Schools football games on Friday nights. Its multiuse fields will also be available for ultimate frisbee, rugby and lacrosse, and other events like concerts and religious services.

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