Paul Tenorio broke the news that Nashville MLS had hired Ally Mackay as assistant general manager and Chace Myers as chief scout on Tuesday morning. Nashville SC quickly confirmed in an official announcement.
The addition of Chance Myers deepens Nashville's connection to Sporting Kansas City. The former right back spent eight years in at Sporting, where he made 147 and won an MLS Cup in 2013. Myers will once again work with Mike Jacobs, who spent three years in Kansas City as Assistant Technical Director. Myers retired from his playing career in 2017 after a stint in Portland, and will bring a familiarity with the current MLS landscape.
Ally Mackay joins as Assistant General Manager after primarily working as a player agent for Stellar Group. Mackay is a really interesting hire, with a wealth of global connections and a familiarity with Major League Soccer.
These hires give us some hints at what the club identity may look like. With a strong Sporting KC connection, it would not be a surprise if Nashville MLS makes similar roster moves. Sporting KC has typically operated with the mindset that it's better to field a team of eleven high level players, rather than spending big on 2-3 superstars and rounding out the rest with TAM level signings. SKC has a history of fantastic scouting, signing under-the-radar players who turn into major contributors. The addition of Mackay gives Nashville plenty of connections to high level global scouts, as well as connections to some big name agents and players.
This lines up with what we've been expecting since the hire of Ian Ayre as CEO. "You take it as you have to go and build something and compete with the budget that you’re working on," Ayre told MLSSoccer.com's Sam Stejskal in September. "So, we’ll work hard, we’ll compete and I think we’ll create something that the people in Nashville can get behind and be excited about."
In an interview with Sports Illustrated's Grant Wahl, Ayre continued to stress the balance of building a title-winning team while sticking to a budget.
"I think our strategy will be to extract the most value on the field that we can from the budget we set... That's no different in reality from the way that we recruited at Liverpool. It wasn't always about who cost the most or was the biggest and the best. It was about finding really good value and assembling a team that worked well together."
In recent years, Major League Soccer has definitely shifted away from signing aging European stars to bringing in promising South American designated players who can be sold on to Europe for a profit. Add Nashville's proximity with Atlanta to the mix, and fans will be hungry for promising young attacking signings. I think NSC will fall somewhere in between Kansas and Atlanta, trying to sign high-value players with resale value, without compromising the ability to field a squad of high-level talent. I expect we'll see a couple bigger-name signings combined with more under-the-radar signings who will turn into key contributors without breaking the budget.
Obviously, a head coach is a key part of a club's identity, and that hire hasn't yet been decided (or announced). However, the additions to the technical staff and the talking points from club leadership would seem to support this model. As 2020 draws closer, we'll have a much clearer picture.