KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Less than two years after the team was established, One Knoxville SC will take the field in the city’s first professional soccer match this weekend.
Knoxville will play their inaugural match in USL League One, a Division III league, on Saturday, March 18 against fellow expansion team Lexington SC. The game will kick off at 7 p.m. at Regal Soccer Stadium on the University of Tennessee campus.
In a nod to the football rivalry between Tennessee and Kentucky, the winner of the aggregate total of the three games between Knoxville and Lexington will take home a full-size whiskey barrel trophy.
The team made the jump to the pros after their first season in USL League Two, a league that allows young players with professional aspirations to play in high-level matches while maintaining NCAA eligibility.
They will play all 16 home games at Regal Stadium in 2023, after playing high schools around the city and Maryville College last season. Click here for a full season schedule.
Following the 32-game regular season, six of the 12 teams will qualify for the playoffs. The league is planning aggressive expansion ahead of the 2026 FIFA World Cup in North America. It already boasts a strong southeastern presence including Chattanooga Red Wolves, North Carolina FC, Greenville Triumph, South Georgia Tormenta FC and Charlotte Independence.
Head coach Mark McKeever returns after leading One Knoxville to a 2022 division title and multiple postseason wins before falling in the national quarterfinals.
Five players from last season rejoined the team for 2023: defenders James Thomas and Dani Fernandez, forward Sebastian Andreassen, midfielder Sam Fletcher and goalkeeper Peter Swinkels.
One Knoxville will also compete in the 2023 U.S. Open Cup, a competition dating back to 1913 which features teams from all levels of American soccer both professional and amateur. They will host Memphis 901 FC, a second-division team owned in part by US soccer legend Tim Howard, on a yet-to-be-announced date between April 4-6.
The team released its 2023 home uniforms earlier this week, featuring sponsorships by KUB Fiber, Visit Knoxville and UT Medical Center.
All One Knoxville SC games can also be streamed on ESPN+. For more information on tickets and other club initiatives, visit oneknoxsc.com.