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Nashville SC: Court Jeske to hand over CEO responsibilities to Ian Ayre

Nashville SC fans cheer on their club in a rainy friendly against MLS side Atlanta United on Feb. 10, 2018 at First Tennessee Park in Nashville. (Mitchell Northam, Pro Soccer USA photo)

Ian Ayre was hired as the chief executive officer of Nashville’s Major League Soccer expansion franchise in May. But after an announcement Tuesday, it seems he will now have added soccer responsibilities in the Music City.

Nashville SC, a United Soccer League Championship club, announced that Court Jeske will leave the club at the end of November. Jeske had been the CEO of Nashville’s USL club since October, 2016. Before that he was the vice president of international business for MLS.

Jeske is leaving Nashville to “to pursue other opportunities” and Ayre will “assume day-to-day responsibilities of Nashville SC,” according to the club’s statement.

“I’m grateful to have had the career-defining opportunity to build a professional soccer club from the ground up,” Jeske said in a statement. “We — and it was a team effort — just completed one of the most successful inaugural seasons in USL history. I’m proud of the records that were broken and the trajectory we set for the future of the sport here in Nashville.”

Jeske was charged with setting the club vision and preparing the business and technical sides for Nashville SC’s USL launch in March 2018. The 2018 campaign set USL Championship inaugural season records for season tickets sold and corporate partnership revenue, according to the statement.

The club also achieved success on the field by qualifying for the USL Cup playoffs and Nashville SC was one of only three USL clubs that reached the U.S. Open Cup round of 16. Nashville SC topped MLS’ Colorado Rapids to reach that stage.

“Court’s leadership of Nashville SC has created important groundwork for professional soccer in Nashville,” Ayre said in a statement. “We look forward to continuing to build on his initial efforts as we help the city take its love of soccer to new heights as we build our new team for Major League Soccer.”

In its inaugural USL season, Nashville SC finished with a 12-9-13 record and scored 49 goals. The club lost in the quarterfinals of the playoffs to FC Cincinnati on penalty kicks.

A week ago, Nashville’s MLS expansion team announced it had signed its first MLS player in Daniel Rios, who scored 20 goals in 31 appearances for North Carolina FC this past season while on loan from Chivas, a Liga MX side. Rios will spend 2019 on-loan with Nashville SC.

Nashville is expected to begin MLS play in 2020, though an official announcement has not been made.

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