Sean Davis: 'I Want to Bring Something Special to Nashville'
When midfielder Sean Davis officially became a free agent on Dec. 15, one sales pitch in particular made quite an impression.
A month later, that sales pitch would land him in Nashville, where he would become a new key cog in Nashville Soccer Club's midfield.
So what was so convincing about Nashville's pitch?
"I'll remember every aspect of it for the rest of my life, honestly," Davis said. "As soon as we possibly could get everything organized, [Nashville SC GM] Mike Jacobs and John Ingram, the owner of Nashville SC, flew up to Teterboro, [N.J.]. They picked up my girlfriend and me, and we flew on a private plane to Nashville. That's just something I never would have expected in my entire career. It was an emotional experience. It made me feel so appreciative that they would go to these lengths to show that they valued me. We had a great trip. I was able to go to a Nashville Predators game, and I was able to see once again how Nashville supports their sports teams. We went out to dinner and wine and dined. I just had a great feeling about going to Nashville and playing for Nashville."
Davis signed a three-year guaranteed contract with an option for 2025 and was announced as a Nashville SC player on Jan. 4. The New Jersey native had spent the first seven years of his professional career with the New York Red Bulls, where he was a Homegrown player and eventually was named captain in 2020.
After playing in the Red Bull system for so many years, Davis says he thinks his attributes on the pitch make him a great fit with the Boys in Gold, and that he'll have the chance to continue to develop as a player in Nashville.
"I think that they also value a lot of things that I bring to the game coming from New York," Davis said. "Nashville is an extremely disciplined team and defensively; they value defensive work rate. At the same time, I really appreciate the progress that they made from year one to year two with the ball. Already in my first few sessions, working with [Head Coach] Gary [Smith] and the group, I can see how they have progressed. I think that is an area of my game that I can continue to improve on. I saw an opportunity to continue to grow as a player. I've worked with so many coaches over my career and so many great players over my career. So many of them had taken steps to new teams and new environments to ultimately grow. I'm a big believer in that."
In addition to being wined and dined in his free agency pitch, Davis had some connections already at Nashville SC. He played with Dax McCarty and Alex Muyl during his time at Red Bulls, and he also crossed paths with Taylor Washington and Bryan Meredith throughout his life.
Even with all those friendships, no player has been more influential to him than McCarty.
"Obviously, you have Dax, who is just an extremely good player, and one of the players that everyone around the league looks up to, for not only his quality, but also his demeanor and his mentality," Davis said. "He's been so important in my development as a player. When I look back on my time at Red Bull, I wouldn't be sitting here talking with you guys today if it wasn't for Dax. Seeing how he showed up every single day and understanding what it took to be a top player in this league, that was a really important time for me. Dax knows this, but I'll always be grateful for him, and I'll always look up to him."
When Davis walks out on to the pitch on May 1 at the new Nashville SC Stadium, it won't be his first experience seeing the energy that Nashville can bring. He started for New York Red Bulls at Nissan Stadium in a 1-1 draw against Nashville on Decision Day in 2021.
After seeing that kind of atmosphere in Music City, Davis says he wants the chance to earn some silverware for his new home.
"I want to bring something special to Nashville," Davis said. "I recognized on the last game of the season when I was with New York and we were fighting for our playoff lives that [Nashville's] stadium was electric and the support was unbelievable. And again, going to a Predators game to see the support there, I think it'd be really special to win an Open Cup or MLS Cup. They have been elusive in my career up until this point. The shields have been great but of course I want to continue to win as much as possible, and I feel like now Nashville is a great place to do that."
Nashville SC continues its preseason training this week at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla.
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