Major League Soccer

Nashville SC defender Walker Zimmerman 'humbled' by new DP contract

Chris Smith
Nashville have tied down key players Zimmerman and Mukhtar.
Nashville have tied down key players Zimmerman and Mukhtar. / Nicole Hester / The Tennessean / USA
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In a league known for its top-heavy spending, it's a testament to Walker Zimmerman's quality that Nashville SC chose to give him a Designated Player contract.

Zimmerman is just the fourth MLS center-back bestowed with such status, penning a new deal through the 2025 season.

Of course, the USMNT regular is good value for the contract, picking up the MLS Defender of the Year award in 2020 and 2021 and helping Nashville become one of the most defensively solid teams in the league.

Still, Zimmerman is aware of just how much faith Nashville are showing in him by using their final DP spot to keep him around as they head to their brand new GEODIS Park Stadium.

“It’s incredibly humbling that they’d commit to me in that way,” Zimmerman said at a press conference (via MLSsoccer.com). “You look at the league and the amount of attacking talent, you’ve got to have guys who can stop them, right? I’m proud to have this deal done as a center-back, I don’t take that lightly. Hopefully, other defenders can see this and have hope.”

Nashville majority owner John Ingram added: “I don’t know anyone who better deserves to be a DP than [Zimmerman]."

Zimmerman's teammate and fellow DP Hany Mukhtar was present at the press conference having also signed a new deal with the club.

While Zimmerman, 28, keeps Nashville air-tight at the back, it's down to Mukhtar to make their attack tick. So far, he's done an incredible job, notching 26 goals and 15 assists in 59 appearances across all competitions since joining from Brondby in 2020. Last season, Mukhtar came agonizingly close to winning the MVP award, eventually losing out to New England Revolution's Carles Gil.

Next on the agenda? Delivering the club's first-ever trophy at their brand new stadium.

“I wanted to stay here long term, this is where I belong,” Mukhtar said. “I’m here to help the team, we’re built to win, I’m here to win silverware.”

Zimmerman added: “We’re not going to get complacent. I know Hany, I know his mentality. We’re not saying we made it. No, this is just the beginning. I’ve always felt a responsibility to Nashville to deliver and that’s only increased now.”

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