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Nashville SC to retain Gary Smith as manager for debut MLS season - sources

Landon Donovan? Sebastian Giovinco? MLS stars tell ESPN which iconic players in league history deserve to be immortalized like David Beckham.

Gary Smith is set to be named Nashville SC's manager for its debut MLS season, sources have told ESPN FC.

Smith, 48, is entering his second season as manager of Nashville's USL team, which competes in the second tier of the U.S. soccer pyramid. Now he will manage the club's MLS entrant when it begins play in the league next season.

The appointment, which could be formally announced this week, sees Nashville continue its habit of promoting from within in terms of hiring its technical staff.

In October of last year, Mike Jacobs was named the MLS team's technical director and VP of soccer operations, after having served in a similar role with the USL team.

Smith returns to the MLS managerial ranks after a seven-and-a-half-year hiatus. He managed the Colorado Rapids from 2008-11, and won an MLS Cup with the Rapids -- the team's only trophy to date -- in 2010, defeating FC Dallas in the final. That title gives Smith the distinction of being one of only five English coaches to win a top-flight trophy outside of England.

Smith began his playing career at Arsenal before joining Fulham's academy and eventually signing as a professional. He made one first-team appearance for the Cottagers before moving on to Colchester United, as well as non-league side Enfield. His most successful stint came with Wycombe Wanderers, where he made 66 appearances between 1990-92, but his career was later cut short by injury.

Smith soon transitioned into coaching, and had spells working in the youth ranks and as assistant with Wimbledon, Wycombe and Watford before he joined the Rapids as academy director for Arsenal FC as part of a worldwide development program for the Premier League Club.

Following his stint with the Rapids, Smith returned to English soccer as manager of League One side Stevenage, qualifying for the playoffs during the first of his two seasons in charge.

Smith later served as coach of the Atlanta Silverbacks during their 2015 North American Soccer League campaign.

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