KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – A group bringing soccer to Knoxville has launched a website to get input about what Knoxville’s United Soccer League franchise should look like and be named.

The new Knoxville team will be part of the USL’s League Two beginning in 2022, a league which allows college-level and elite high school players with professional aspirations to participate in high-level competition while maintaining NCAA eligibility. The group aims to later join USL League One, a fully-professional league with paid contracts.

The team is a project between the USL and five business leaders in Knoxville who say its been 2 years in the making.

As of now, the team doesn’t have a permanent home, but say they could play at the proposed Smokies Stadium in the Old City, if that ever comes to fruition.

Even with that big “if,” the soccer league says what Knoxville has to offer is what will make this venture successful.

The idea of professional soccer in Knoxville is amazing, we’re excited. We know the fans are excited but we’re excited too. From a league office prospective it’s kind of a perfect fit, we look for three things primarily, a committed ownership group, a strong appetite for the games, and a good venue that the fans can be proud of. And Drew and his team, the ownership group, have checked all three of those boxes so we have no doubts, we will be tremendously successful.”

Ryan Madden VP of Communications USL

The group put together a fan survey to get local input on what the club should be called, what colors it should wear and where they should draw inspiration for the club’s logo.

Questions in the survey include:

  • What makes you most proud of Knoxville?
  • Describe Knoxville in a few words.
  • What colors represent Knoxville?
  • Any inspirations for the name or crest?
  • Any team name ideas?

The club has also outlined its three pillars:

  • Knoxville Proud
    • We’re proud of Knoxville, and we plan to make Knoxville proud. A club that is connected to the community, cares about winning, and operates professionally is what our city deserves.
  • Civic Citizen
    • Soccer clubs can positively affect their communities well beyond the pitch. We want to use the Beautiful Game as a force for good across Knoxville.
  • Everybody’s Teammate
    • Knoxville has a strong youth soccer community.  We want to support, celebrate, and advance that culture at every turn.  We’re teammates with all of Knoxville 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.