Ian Ayre is the first CEO of Nashville's Major League Soccer club, he confirmed on Sunday in an exclusive interview with the Tennessean.

For those who aren't tuned in to the international soccer scene, please understand: This is a major development.

It would have been a laughable concept just a few years ago. It’s a coup for Nashville, team lead owner John Ingram and the MLS, because Ayre, the 55-year-old former CEO of Liverpool Football Club of the English Premier League, is a big deal.

Liverpool, which he left on his terms in 2017, is about to take on Real Madrid in the Champions League final. That’s the height of soccer on the planet. And Ayre, who was voted Premier League Chief Executive of the Year in 2017, spent a decade building that club on and off the field and has signed on to do the same for Nashville MLS.

“He’s always been my number one choice, I’m just thrilled that this was attractive to him,” Ingram said.

“He’s the kind of guy, there’s a lot of other leagues and clubs that would find him incredibly attractive. I’m just glad this opportunity is one that, a bit of the entrepreneurial bug and the ability to build something from scratch, this is a rather unique opportunity. And I feel very fortunate that it was of interest to him.”

“The MLS has huge ambitions to be one of the biggest and leading leagues in the world, and is on that trajectory,” Ayre said.

“Both as a soccer fan and an executive in the industry, it’s something I’ve had my eye on because it’s important.

"You talk about MLS and its growth, I think it’s becoming easier and will become easier to attract the right talent to something that’s exciting and developing. And if you have a reputation of being involved in a club like Liverpool, you hope that stands for something when you start to try and attract talent.”

Ayre also cited the lure of Nashville – he’s a native of Liverpool, another rather important music town, and he has the John Lennon accent to prove it – and the aforementioned “entrepreneurial” opportunity on the ground floor of an organisation as factors.

Ingram clearly made a difference as well, in a pursuit that must have seemed a long shot when a search firm first reached out to Ayre in January.

“Hell, how realistic was our chance when we submitted our (MLS) bid in January of 2017?” Ingram said. “If you don’t aim high, you rarely get there.”

Liverpool ownership tried to convince Ayre to stay when he announced in 2016 his plan to transition out, according to the Daily Mail. He took over TVS 1860 Munich in 2017, but left that job after a few weeks because of what he termed “warring factions” within the ownership group resulting in financial promises unfulfilled. So he returned to Liverpool and waited.

“Through that time I had a number of calls from, let’s just say big clubs,” Ayre said.

“But that was never going to be of interest to me, established clubs rather than this, because I’ve kind of done that.”

This is no guarantee of immediate, smashing success for Nashville MLS, which likely will begin play in 2020. Ayre has had his detractors, including Liverpool fans who staged a walkout because of a ticket price hike, and per a quick search on Twitter it seems some Liverpool supporters have blamed him for everything but cloudy days in England.

Whether they curse it or not, everyone in soccer knows his name. He has achieved at high levels in the sport. And now, so has Ingram.