HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — The Nashville Soccer Club announced CEO Ian Ayre as President of the club’s MLS NEXT Pro team in Huntsville and introduced Chad Emerson as the Managing Director of Business Operations for the MLS NEXT Pro club.

Emerson, who is the former founding CEO of Downtown Huntsville, Inc. will now serve as the head of the Huntsville NEXT Pro team and will lead them through the day-to-day activities.

“I am pleased to have found somebody with Chad’s local experience to lead our business efforts for our NEXT Pro team,” said Ian Ayre, CEO of Nashville SC and President of Huntsville NEXT Pro. “As we saw during the building of Nashville Soccer Club, having key people who know and understand the local market are crucial in shaping the club and the business to fit with the city.  I feel confident that Chad and the team we assemble can build something unique and fitting for the City of Huntsville.”

Emerson has been the driving force behind transforming Huntsville’s downtown into the thriving cultural and commercial center it is today, added Ayre.

Huntsville MLS NEXT Pro will bring professional soccer closer to fans and supporters in North Alabama, and the team will make Joe Davis Stadium its home following completed renovations in May 2023. For more information, click here.

Nashville Soccer Club is the pro team in Nashville. NEXT Pro is their Division 3 team that will develop young talent. The inaugural season for the league is 2022 with 21 soccer clubs playing in the league in total. Joe Davis Stadium is expected to be completed by the end of this year.  

The City announced that they will field a team by the 2023 season opener.