Nashville is invested in this World Cup like none before

Soccer fans react as they watch the U.S. men's national team play Wales during a World Cup viewing party at Geodis Park on Monday, Nov. 21, 2022, in Nashville, Tenn.

I don’t think I need to tell you how one Nashville SC player made an impact for the United States in Monday’s Qatar World Cup game.

If you were watching with the rest of the world, you noticed him.

You saw Nashville quarterback Walker Zimmerman make the deeply unfortunate decision to tackle a Welsh player with his back to the net. You saw how weak the tackle was. You saw that the referee announced a penalty kick. Then you saw Gareth Bale convert that penalty into a life-saving goal for Wales.

You can’t say Zimmerman’s foul cost the U.S. the game, because the U.S. didn’t lose. It just felt like a 1-1 draw was a disappointing result as they led for about 45 minutes and were awarded a penalty in the 82nd minute.

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And so at GEODIS Park—where I had gathered to watch and cheer for Zimmerman, as they’d been doing proudly all afternoon—the mood fell silent.

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Sports can be like that.

More than ever, it showed how Nashville has a piece in this World Cup like never before.

Zimmerman is on the US men’s national team along with Nashville SC teammate Shaq Moore, who did not play against Wales.

When Bale made his MLS debut for LAFC last summer, it was in a game at GEODIS Park. We knew at the time that Bill would lead Wales against the USA in a World Cup match each side was eagerly anticipating.

Wales' Gareth Bale successfully appeals for a penalty after a foul on United States' Walker Zimmerman during the World Cup Group B soccer match between the United States and Wales at the Ahmed Bin Ali Stadium in Doha, Qatar.  Monday, November 21, 2022. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)

USA did not qualify in 2018, meaning the last time our men’s national team appeared in the World Cup was in 2014.

Just look at all that has happened in Nashville since then.

We have one point in the Premier League. We have a new soccer stadium at the Fairgrounds and as a result more and more locals are getting to know the beautiful game.

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