U.S. Soccer Fan Experiences Take Over Nashville as “Countdown to World Cup Qualifying” Sets the Stage for USA-Canada, Presented by VolkswagenUSMNT’s First Home World Cup Qualifying Match Kicks Off Sunday Night at Nissan Stadium at 8 p.m. ET on FS1, UniMas and Universo
CHICAGO (Sept. 3, 2021) – As the U.S. Men’s National Team continues its World Cup qualifying journey, U.S. Soccer will host a number of exciting experiences for fans in Nashville as part of its “Countdown to World Cup Qualifying.”
The USMNT kicks off the first of seven home World Cup qualifying matches on Sunday, Sept. 5 at Nissan Stadium (8 p.m. ET; FS1, UniMas, Universo) and in the lead-up to the game, U.S. Soccer programming will take over Music City.
U.S. Soccer kicked off its “Countdown to World Cup Qualifying” with the launch of “Only Forward,” / “Solo Pa’lante,” the USMNT’s new creative campaign focused on uniting fans and the team in a collective journey to qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
Developed in conjunction with the players, coaches and staff, “Only Forward / Solo Pa’lante” highlights a young, diverse and global-minded Men’s National Team that is humble yet resilient as it looks to tackle the challenge of World Cup Qualifying during the next eight months. After an action-packed summer in which the deep U.S. player pool responded to adversity on and off the field and proved itself with two regional championship trophies, the USMNT is ready to show the world that they are prepared to change the way the world views American soccer.
See below for all the activities taking place in Nashville:
MUSIC CITY LIGHTS
In the run-up to the match at Nissan Stadium, some of Nashville’s most iconic buildings will be lit up red, white and blue in anticipation of the USMNT’s match vs. Canada. Around downtown, the Ascend Amphitheater, Bridgestone Arena, Hilton Nashville Downtown, Hotel Indio Downtown Nashville, Grand Hyatt Nashville, Korean Veteran Bridge and Metro Courthouse will all be illuminated with U.S. colors.
U.S. Soccer has debuted an exclusive highlight video featuring “New Day,” an unreleased song by American pop/rock singer-songwriter Ben Rector that captures the spirit of the USMNT as it begins its journey to qualify for the World Cup. The Nashville-based musician will also headline a free concert during U.S. Soccer’s FanHQ pregame party before USA-Canada.
INSIDERS PREGAME HUDDLE WITH GREGG BERHALTER - SEPT. 3
U.S. Soccer Insiders get closer than ever to the National Team with exclusive access, behind-the-scenes content and special ticket offers. Before USA-Canada kicks off on Sunday night, Insiders at the Premium level and above will have a chance to chat with head coach Gregg Berhalter and ask questions about the start of World Cup qualifying.
As part of “Only Forward,” U.S. Soccer is partnering with local artists for the Only Forward Art Series, creating unique pieces of art around each home World Cup qualifying match. The first piece comes from Nashville artist Kevin Bongang.
The art will be featured in a variety of initiatives around gameday. Bongang’s work will be exclusively released for purchase on the NTWRK app on Friday, Sept. 3, giving fans the opportunity to buy limited edition pieces featuring the print. On Saturday, Sept. 4, Bongang’s piece can be seen at Chauvet Arts as part of Nashville’s monthly art crawl from 6-9 p.m. CT. Finally, all fans attending USA-Canada will have the ability to download an NFT of the art vis Panini America’s NFT Blockchain.
U.S. Soccer and Budweiser are teaming up to host fans in Nashville at the U.S. Soccer X Budweiser Kickoff Party on Sept. 4, the night before USA-Canada. Fans can look forward to music, giveaways, an appearance from USMNT legend DaMarcus Beasley and more on Nashville’s largest rooftop -- the Assembly Food Hall’s third floor -- from 6-8 p.m. Located near the corner of 5th and Broadway, those interested in attending can RSVP for the event here. The first 100 fans to RSVP will be entered into a raffle to win a jersey or match-issued ball.
FAN HQ - SEPT. 5
Before the USMNT kicks off on Sunday night, Fan HQ will get the party started in Lot J and the Lot R grass area outside Nissan Stadium. The pregame event is headlined by live music from country artist Lindsay Eli at 4:15 p.m. and Ben Rector at 5:15 p.m. Legendary USMNT defender DaMarcus Beasley will also be on hand for the festivities, thanks to U.S. Soccer presenting sponsor Volkswagen, and fans can gear up with U.S. Soccer merchandise at the Visa Fan Studio.
FREE CHIPOTLE DELIVERY - SEPT. 5 AND 8
On all three USMNT matchdays (Sept. 2, 5 and 8) during the September international window, U.S. Soccer partner Chipotle is offering free delivery with the code “SOCCER1” Higher menu price and additional service fees apply, $10 minimum order and $200 maximum order. Full terms can be found here.
GOGO SQUEEZ GIVEAWAY - SEPT. 5
All fans attending USA-Canada will have the chance to try free samples of GoGo squeeZ snack pouches upon leaving the stadium.
GAME AMBASSADOR - DESMOND ARMSTRONG
U.S. Soccer will recognize National Soccer Hall of Famer Desmond Armstrong as its One Nation Game Ambassador in Nashville. Game Ambassadors are selected for their impact in the areas of diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging. Armstrong made 81 appearances for the USMNT and was one of the first U.S.-born Black players to play in the World Cup. Now, Armstrong serves as director for East Nash Soccer and founded the Heroes Futbol Association travel team in 2004.
U.S. Soccer honored its first series of Game Ambassadors during the USMNT and U.S. Women’s National Team’s June matches. Most recently, ESPN’s Courtney Pollack was named Game Ambassador in Hartford, Conn. for her deep involvement in the community and with the company’s LGBTQ+ resource group.
COACH FOR COMMUNITY - SEPT. 4
U.S. Soccer will partner with the Tennessee State Soccer Association (TSSA) and White House Soccer Club to run a free Coach for Community event at the W.L. Anderson Soccer Complex in White House, Tenn. on Sept. 4.
In the United States, many youth coaches do not have access to adequate training. U.S. Soccer has introduced the Coach for Community program to serve not only as an introduction to teaching the game, but also to improve sporting experiences within communities, particularly underserved areas that may lack access and training for coaches, players and volunteers.
Coach for Community participants will learn about creating a positive, fun and player-centered environment using U.S. Soccer’s Play-Practice-Play methodology. U.S. Soccer and TSSA welcome individuals (coaches, volunteers, parents, etc.) of all levels who are interested in coaching children and helping to make youth soccer a better experience to register here.
Each individual that attends the Coach for Community clinic will also receive a $25 voucher to access one of U.S. Soccer’s Grassroots License Courses, free of charge.
The World Cup qualifier in Nashville will also mark the return of CHAMP - a custom Volkswagen telepresence robot that will allow young soccer fans facing hardship to virtually participate in pregame ceremonies. Via CHAMP, young U.S. Soccer superfan Alec Hamilton will take the field for the National Anthem with USMNT players. Alec has Supraventricular Tachycardia (SVT), Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), and asthma. He has also overcome many other medical challenges early in his life including External hydrocephalus (EH), speech and developmental delays, and chronic ear infections. He has played soccer since he was three years old.
U.S. Soccer is partnering with KultureCity to make the gameday experience sensory inclusive. KultureCity is a leading non-profit recognized nationwide for using its resources to revolutionize and affect change in the community for those with sensory needs, not just those with autism. “In an effort to enhance their gameday experience, fans with sensory needs will be able to check out sensory bags at no cost during the match.”
U.S. Soccer has partnered with Vote.org to drive voter registration for important state and local elections, highlighting the initiative with in-game video board graphics and stadium announcements.
COMMUNITY YOUTH PROGRAM - SEPT. 2
Together with Nashville Soccer Club, U.S. Soccer virtually hosted the One Nation Community Youth Program on Sept. 2 at Pearl Cohn High School in Nashville, designed to inspire local young adults to go for their goals. The program seeks to demonstrate to youth that they can achieve great things no matter their background, aiming to broaden their career horizons and build their professional skills.