KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – One Knoxville Sporting Club is set to illustrate their plans for the future at an in-person event this week following a successful inaugural soccer season.
The team will hold an event Thursday, Oct. 20 at the Press Room in downtown Knoxville. ‘Coaches, players, facilities, streaming and of course the league’ are set to be discussed at the event, according to a description on the registration site for the free event.
Club leaders have long stated the team aims to join the professional ranks. Knoxville was one of several southeastern cities visited by USL leadership in 2017 after they announced plans to create USL League One, a professional third-division league.
“We want to play with our crest at the League Two level, League One level and at the youth level.”One Knoxville SC Partner Drew McKenna at brand reveal in 2021
One Knox competed in USL League Two, a developmental league for college-level and elite high school soccer players with professional aspirations to participate in high-level competition, in their inaugural 2022 campaign.
The team finished as South Central Division champions after an 11-2-1 regular season record. They hosted multiple rounds of playoff competition before falling to North Carolina Fusion U23s in the national quarterfinals.
USL League One began play in 2019 and currently features 11 teams. League leadership have expressed intentions to continue expanding both League One and the USL Championship, a second-division league, ahead of the 2026 World Cup hosted by the U.S., Mexico and Canada.
“We’ve seen just exponential interest in groups joining both the USL Championship and League One — great clubs coming like Lexington and Knoxville that want to build stadiums and have really relevant clubs. That’s what it’s about and that’s what we want to be about moving forward,” USL President Jake Edwards told Soccer America last month.
League One already features a strong contingent of teams in the southeast including Chattanooga Red Wolves, North Carolina FC, Greenville Triumph, South Georgia Tormenta FC and Charlotte Independence. Lexington Sporting Club is set to join the league in 2023.
Social media posts promoting the event on Thursday included the logo of the U.S. Open Cup, America’s oldest annual team sports tournament which involves soccer teams from Major League Soccer all the way down to the amateur ranks.
All pro teams, excluding those who are majority-owned or controlled by higher division pro clubs, are automatically entered into the U.S. Open Cup each year. If Knoxville were to remain in the amateur League Two for 2023, they could potentially still participate in the 2023 U.S. Open Cup since the league’s 16 division winners are given priority for a limited number slots allocated to amateur teams.
The Press Room is located at 730 North Broadway and will event take place from 6-8 p.m. The event is free but registration is required.