It will be much easier to see Matt Pickens in action in 2018.
The Borgia graduate became the first United Soccer League (USL) signing for Nashville SC, which opens play Feb. 10 against Atlanta United in a preseason friendly.
“Matt is one of the elite goalkeepers over the last 10 years in Major League Soccer (MLS),” Nashville Head Coach Gary Smith told the team’s website. “He is a first-class professional and an MLS Champion. Matt will be an individual that will set the standard and hold others accountable.”
Pickens has played in goal during recent seasons for the Tampa Bay Rowdies, which transitioned to USL this past season from the North American Soccer League (NASL).
Pickens helped to lead the Rowdies to third in the USL Eastern Conference, posting 10 shutouts in 30 games.
Prior to that, Pickens helped the Colorado Rapids to the 2010 MLS Cup title over FC Dallas. Smith was his head coach during that season with the Rapids.
He previously played for the Chicago Fire, helping that squad win the 2006 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
Pickens helped Borgia to a third-place state finish in 1998 and went to St. Louis Community College-Meramec.
He transferred to Missouri State and played for the Chicago Fire’s Premier Development League team priory to being drafted 15th overall in the 2004 MLS SuperDraft by the Fire.
Besides his MLS experience, Pickens played for Queens Park Rangers of the English Championship and has been in five U.S. Men’s National Team training camps.
Nashville is one of four finalists for two MLS expansion teams along with Cincinnati, Detroit and Sacramento.