Gary Smith has been named manager of USL expansion side Nashville SC, the team announced on Wednesday.
Nashville won't begin play until the 2018 season, but in getting Smith on board now, the club will have roughly a year to plan for its inaugural campaign.
"It's not every day that a club has the opportunity to land a coach with Gary's talent, pedigree and experience," said Nashville SC CEO Court Jeske via a press release. "He can take the reins more than a year before our first professional match and shape the roster and culture of this team."
Smith, 48, brings with him considerable coaching experience. He managed the Colorado Rapids from 2008 to 2011, leading the team to the 2010 MLS Cup. He has also managed Stevenage FC in his native England, as well as the Atlanta Silverbacks, who at the time were in the NASL.
Smith also has extensive experience in the youth ranks. He was initially brought over to run the Rapids' academy before taking on an assistant coach role there and eventually becoming the team's manager.
"I have been involved in soccer all of my life, and this is a wonderful opportunity to build both the soccer culture and technical foundation of a club," Smith said. "The fans and support throughout the city will be an integral element in our drive for success. To see how the team has been embraced is very exciting."
As a player, Smith's career saw him play with a variety of lower league and non-league sides. His longest spell came with Wycombe Wanderers, who at the time played in the fifth tier of English soccer. He made 66 appearances with the club, scoring four goals. Injuries forced him to retire at age 27, at which point he moved into coaching.