A barrage of misfortune in Music City this year has created a challenge unlike anything seen before in Major League Soccer, but forward David Accam has found a new strength in adversity.
Fans and players alike have come together to find positivity and optimism while enduring a tornado, a global pandemic and heartbreaking MLS is Back Tournament fate within a few months.
Nashville SC’s long-awaited restart on August 12 in Frisco, Texas was no longer just a soccer match, but a note of hope in an otherwise tough start to 2020.
The Boys in Gold dug in their heels and secured the first Major League Soccer win in club history against FC Dallas with a final score of 1-0. In a movie-worthy series of events, the hero of Nashville SC’s return-to-play was none other than Accam, who took an especially hard hit during the year’s tumultuous events. His shot on goal in the 86’ minute was heard around the city, and for what seemed like the first time in six months, a glimpse of daylight peaked through the darkness.
“We’ve been through a lot, so it felt extra special to win on Wednesday in Dallas,” Accam remarked. “We stood really strong and coming back for our first win of the season and club history is amazing. We feel really proud because of the work we’ve put in so far.”
On March 3, Accam and his wife Florence, who was pregnant at the time, were in the tornado’s direct path just north of downtown Nashville in their Germantown apartment. At the time, Accam said all they could do was stay in their room and pray as the storm ripped through their new home. A few months later, Accam welcomed his first child into the world amid a pandemic. He says his teammates have played an integral role in his recovery through their support of his family during an unprecedented hardship.
“When you are down, that’s when you learn who your true friends are,” he said. “This team has been together for seven months, and we’ve tried to help each other during the pandemic and during the tornadoes. It shows that we’re good players, but we also have really, really good people on the team who try to support each other. The support for the club and from the fans has been amazing. We just have to keep going and keep supporting each other throughout our good and bad times.”
As the team gears up for its matches, Accam took the time to reflect on his teammates’ resiliency. No one would have guessed that a season that started on such a high could be negated by an unpredictable storm of events. However, it’s moments in sports like a late-match goal that can slowly begin to steer 2020 in a more promising direction.
“There will be setbacks in life,” Accam continued. “You don’t have to dwell in the past, just try to move forward and work extra hard and also be there for each other, and that’s what we’ve done so far. We play as a team and we try to pull each other back up whenever someone is down. It’s all about teamwork and trying to help each other.”