KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — One Knoxville Sporting Club will be led by a league champion and coach of the year winner when they take the field in May for the first season in team history.
Knoxville’s new professional soccer club announced Thursday that Mark McKeever has been named their first-ever head coach. McKeever enters 2022 as the defending USL League Two Coach of the Year after leading the Des Moines Menace to a regular season title and postseason National Championship.
“I am very excited to start this new journey with One Knoxville,” McKeever said. “I amOne Knoxville SC coach Mark McKeever
thankful to the Club for placing its trust in me to build this team and create an identity in League
2 as a stepping stone for our future. I cannot wait to represent the people of Knoxville and the
soccer community. I hope I can make everyone proud to be a One Knoxville fan in 2022 and
many more years to come. There’s Only One Knoxville!”
McKeever has also spent the last 16 years as the head soccer coach at Young Harris College in Georgia, where he helped move the team from junior college competition to full-fledged NCAA Division II status. He boasts a DII record of 143-29-11 and led the Mountain Lions to an undefeated 2021 regular season.
He also won the 2019 USL League 2 Regular Season Championship at Des Moines. Before joining the Menace, he led Mississippi Brilla to a USL League 2 Final Four appearance and U.S. Open Cup third round appearance in four seasons at the club.
“Winning will always be a high priority for One Knox starting with our inaugural season in 2022. Knoxville deserves a winner and Mark McKeever is just that,” said Drew McKenna, Partner at One Knoxville SC. “In hiring Mark, we believe we have hired not only the best coach in League 2 but also the type of leader and manager who can make the jump to the professional ranks with us. We’re excited for Mark to join the team and cannot wait until he takes the field in May!”
One Knoxville will officially unveil their new head coach at a press conference and meet-and-greet Thursday at 6:30 p.m. Fans are invited to the event at Alliance Brewing Co. to meet the new coach and hear about plans for the upcoming season. You can register for the free event here.
The team is set to unveil its inaugural season schedule, first official player, league alignment details and more in the coming weeks.
Starting in May, One Knoxville 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.
The team plans to move up to USL League One, a fully professional league recognized as the third tier of American soccer.
Beginning in 2024, One Knoxville will play home matches at the newly-approved $74.5 million multiuse stadium in the Old City neighborhood. Their home venue for the 2022 season has yet to be announced.