KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – One of Knoxville‘s biggest youth soccer programs announced Tuesday that they will field men’s and women’s minor league teams beginning this year.
865 Alliance will play in the National Premier Soccer League and Women’s Premier Soccer League beginning in May. Both teams are owned by FC Alliance, a Knoxville-based nonprofit organization that offers boys and girls soccer programs for all ages through high school.
Teams will largely consist of former FC Alliance youth players who now play in college and players from nearby colleges. Both league seasons take place in the summer months during the college off-season.
“It gives them the exposure to make that transition from college to pros if that’s something they desire and it also gives them the high-level training all through the summer to help them through their college career while they’re off in the summer and back home.”865 Alliance President Jon Schneider
The coaching staff is set to be announced on Thursday. Club leaders said a home venue has been secured and will be announced ahead of the season.
Ticket information will be announced at a later date and games will also be available for viewing on the live stream.
The 865 Alliance men’s team could qualify for the U.S. Open Cup, America’s oldest team sports tournament which features teams from all levels of American soccer, based on future season results.
865 Alliance could take on One Knoxville SC in the U.S. Open Cup if they qualify. One Knoxville automatically qualifies for the tournament each year as a fully professional team.
The WPSL side previously competed under the name TN Force FC.
“The history and high level of the NPSL and WPSL is what makes them such a great choice for our programs,” Schneider said. “The leagues have so many strong conferences and teams. This will give our fans the opportunity to see some of the best soccer in the United States. With the growth of our youth programs, this will give them a chance to come home after college and represent our region from their own backyards.”
The first signees for both teams were also announced on Tuesday.
The women’s team will feature Bearden standout and South Carolina commit Brinley Murphy. She led the Lady Bulldogs to consecutive state championships and was named the 21-22 Gatorade Tennessee Girls Soccer Player of the Year.
Norah Jacomen, an all-state selection who is committed to the University of Butler women’s soccer team, will also suit up for 865 Alliance.
Another Bearden prolific, Bearden striker, All-American selection and ETSU commit Lucas Nordin, will suit up for the men’s team. He will be joined by forward Andy Sullins, a University of Virginia men’s soccer team member who also previously spent time with the development academy of Major League Soccer’s Atlanta United.
“We are pleased that 865 Alliance chose the NPSL to help further the growth of their club,” NPSL Director of Membership Development Dina Case said. “865 Alliance brings a well-established and respected club to the table, and we are confident that they will be a successful business partner for the league. It will be great for the NPSL to have a presence in the Knoxville market which will help to further the league’s growth in the region.”