KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Knoxville sports fans can now weigh in on the first of four potential names for the soccer team coming to the city next year.
Knox Pro Soccer, the group bringing a United Soccer League franchise to the city, released the first candidate Tuesday morning. The first of four possible names is, “Knoxville Rovers.”
Fans now have the opportunity to voice their thoughts on the potential name through the ‘Dub the Club’ initiative on the Knox Pro Soccer website.
A new potential team name be released each morning through Thursday as the club seeks to involve the community in the forming the identity of the team.
Knox Pro Soccer previously sought input on inspiration for the team’s name, logo and colors through online surveys and a virtual fan forum in February.
The team will compete in USL League Two, a league that allows college-level and elite high school players with professional aspirations to participate in high-level competition while maintaining NCAA eligibility, starting in 2022. The group aims to later join USL League One, a fully professional league which is considered the third tier of American soccer.
Boyd Sports, the sports ownership group lead by Randy Boyd currently in the process of seeking approval for a proposed $65 million, multiuse stadium in Knoxville’s Old City, confirmed they are in talks with Knox Pro Soccer to host the team’s home matches if the stadium plan is approved.
Approval of the stadium plan would also see the Tennessee Smokies, the Double A minor league baseball affiliate of the Chicago Cubs, move from Sevier County to downtown Knoxville.
The soccer club’s website also outlines three pillars of its philosophy: Knoxville Proud, Civic Citizen and Everybody’s Teammate. Team officials have stated their goal is to support the city’s existing youth soccer culture while fostering regional pride and positive change in the local community.
“Youth soccer has such an incredible culture here in Knoxville, and we’ve been filling up our calendars with meetings just building relationships and our knowledge base and understanding of the rich history that’s here and the different communities that are involved and our focus is really contributing to that culture.”MARK MCCOMAS, KNOX PRO SOCCER
There are more than 80 teams in the USL League Two, including Tri-Cities FC in Johnson City. USL League One began in 2019 and currently features 12 teams including Chattanooga Red Wolves SC.