Updated: Feb 22, 2019
Fans of the Boys In Gold will have noticed a new name on the teamsheet for each of Nashville's two preseason matches. Vinnie Vermeer, a trialist with NSC, has started alongside captain Michael Reed in what appears to be a 4-2-3-1 formation in preseason matches against Montreal and Louisville. Who is he?
Vermeer is a 23-year-old Dutch midfielder. After coming up through the renown PSV Eindhoven youth system, he signed his first professional contract in 2011 with FC Eindhoven of the Eerste Divisie (the Dutch second division). After making 25 appearances with Eindhoven, Vermeer signed with Eredivisie side NAC Breda. At Breda, Vermeer only managed two appearances during two different spells with the club between 2014 and 2016. After spending 2017 on loan with Eerste Divisie side FC Oss without seeing the field, Vermeer was loaned to SV TEC of the Derde Divisie (Dutch fourth division), where he made 19 appearances, scoring one and assisting another. After his loan spell with TEC ended, Vermeer spent the first half of the 18/19 season with Breda before his contract was mutually terminated. Breda tweeted that he had an opportunity, and later confirmed in an email to Speedway that he had not agreed to a permanent deal with Nashville SC, and was playing with them on an "internship" (trial).
Vermeer is a right-footed player who has primarily played as a number 6, but can also play as an 8 or even a right back, according to the highlight package he put out on YouTube. At 5'8", he's relatively small for a holding midfielder, but makes up for it with strong positioning, a low center of gravity and a good first touch. He's quick to react and covers ground well, allowing him to recycle possession and clean up in front of a back four. He seems to be most comfortable at the base of midfield, allowing him to keep the play in front of him and sit in pockets of space. He tackles really well, and more importantly he's able to retain the ball after a tackle. Vermeer likes to make late runs into the box, running into pockets of space as defenders are pulled out of position by forwards, making Vermeer a great target for a cutback cross.
From the limited footage available, Vermeer appears to be an interesting hybrid of a box-to-box midfielder and a holding midfielder. He's been paired primarily with Michael Reed so far, and one would assume he's been asked to sit back and allow Reed to get forward more. Akinyode is the only pure no. 6 on Nashville's roster, and Vermeer partnered him in the second half against Montreal.
If Vermeer does end up signing with Nashville, he'll provide some interesting options. Nashville is pretty thin at central midfield. Akinyode, Reed, LaGrassa, and Howell are the only central midfielders on the roster, and from the limited information available, it looks like Howell has played in a wider role so far in preseason. It's impossible to draw too many conclusions on what this team's best formation and best eleven looks like, but Vermeer would provide some much welcome depth and the ability to slot in at multiple roles. I've talked previously about how Nashville could line up this year, and how Nashville SC need a creative number 8 to take this team to the next level. Vermeer doesn't necessarily have the pedigree we were expecting, but if he is able to earn a contract and carve out a role for himself in this team, he could be a difference maker for the Boys In Gold.
UPDATE: Nashville SC announced on February 22 that Vermeer has been signed to a permanent contract after his successful trial with the club. He will wear the number 8 shirt for the 2019 USL season.