The National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) is proud to announce that Nashville Atlas FC has joined the league as an expansion team. Atlas FC will begin play in the Southeast Conference of the South Region in 2014.
"We're excited to add Nashville to the NPSL,” NPSL Commissioner Michael Hitchcock commented. “Nashville is a growing soccer market with passionate soccer supporters who will be a great addition to the NPSL and our strong Southeast Conference."
The Southeast Conference already includes Chattanooga FC, Gulf Coast Texans, Rocket City United, New Orleans Jesters, Knoxville Force, and Mississippi Storm.
Atlas FC is led by an ownership group made up of Nolan Pittman, Andrew Day, and Younes Koukkouche. All three are the club’s original founders, having been involved with the club since its inception.
Pittman has an extensive background in soccer, including time as a Division I player at Belmont University and as a USSF “D” licensed coach at Tennessee United Soccer Club.
Day has been the manager of the Atlas FC Premiere and Elite squads since the fall 2012 season. He is also a veteran of the Iraq War, serving in the United States Marine Corps after playing at Lipscomb Campus School and with the Auburn University men's club soccer team.
Koukkouche is a former professional player with extensive experience abroad, spending time in the second division of the Moroccan league and the third division French football league. He also earned thirteen caps with the Moroccan U-20 National Team.
Atlas FC is proud of their involvement in the Nashville soccer community. The club has two teams currently participating in the Middle Tennessee Soccer Alliance, Nashville’s largest competitive adult league, and has already partnered with the TN State Soccer Association (TSSA), an organization with over 20,000 registered players in the middle Tennessee area alone.
“Our goal is to establish a new model within the overall framework of the state’s ODP program, extending the lifecycle of player development beyond the youth experience,” explained Pittman. “We feel this enables us to successfully produce elite talent while furthering the mission of both our club and the TSSA.”
The effort extends beyond the pitch, as Nashville Atlas FC has plans to proactively engage with the community through the sport. “Soccer has a universal appeal and is a powerful catalyst, bringing diverse cultures together behind a common purpose,” Pittman added. “Our purpose expands beyond the borders of the pitch, as we want to be recognized as a force for good in the city of Nashville.”
“We are thrilled about joining the NPSL,” Pittman concluded. “Our franchise was born out of a passion for the sport and to elevate the sport in Nashville. The NPSL was a perfect vehicle to achieve our goals while allowing the flexibility to grow at a natural pace, and giving us the freedom to execute on our community vision. We look forward to offering middle Tennessee a team that everyone can be proud to support. We are also excited about developing a sporting rivalry with the existing in-state clubs, Chattanooga and Knoxville, in the spirit of respectful competition.”
The club can be found at www.nashvilleatlasfc.com, on Twitter @AtlasFootball, or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/NashvilleAtlasFC.
Atlas FC joins Virginia Legacy, Cincinnati Saints, Flower Mound FC, Temecula FC, Storm FC, and Lansing as expansion clubs for the 2014 season.
The NPSL is a national league that operates in the 4th Division of the U.S. Soccer pyramid. NPSL teams are eligible to participate in the U.S. Open Cup through their affiliation with the U.S. Soccer Federation (USSF) and the United States Adult Soccer Association (USASA). The NPSL is the fastest-growing national soccer league in the U.S., operating in 60+ markets across the country. Two Major League Soccer (MLS) clubs, D.C. United and the New York Red Bulls, operate U-23 squads in the NPSL.