The logo was chosen, the groups revealed, and the stadium selected. Now, all that’s left for One Knoxville SC is to play ball this weekend.
The pre-pro football team’s inaugural game will take place on Saturday at home against Asheville.
It’s a historic moment for East Tennessee football fans. It’s also an opportunity to cheer some of the most promising football talents in Knoxville.
The game is a “home” game for One Knoxville, although there is no permanent stadium yet, and is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. at Austin East Magnet High School.
“We are honored to be playing in the same field as the state champions,” club partner Drew McKenna told Knox News in an email. “Twenty-five years from now, we will be looking back with pride because our first game ever was played in Austin East.”
Knoxville and Asheville are rivals, according to McKenna, and the two teams will face each other twice this season in what is being dubbed the Smoky Mountain Range.
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The remaining home games will be split between Knoxville Catholic High School and Maryville College. The team plans to eventually play its home games at the upcoming mixed-use baseball field in the minor league heading to Old Town.
If you want to be a part of this weekend’s historic moment, check out five things to know before you go.
How many home games are there?
Knoxville SC will play seven home games at three venues during the opening season.
The opening game takes place on Saturday against Asheville City SC at Austin-East Magnet High School, while the next two games will take place at home May 17 and May 28 at Knoxville Catholic High School.
One Knoxville SC has more than 2,000 tickets available for the game in Austin East, McKenna said, and “Catholicism is about the same.”
The rest of the games will take place at Maryville College on June 18, June 25, July 9 and July 12.
“We will definitely have fewer (tickets) available at Maryville College, so you can catch up with us as often as you can,” McKenna said.
The full schedule, which also includes seven away matches, is available at uslleaguetwo.com. Some outdoor games are a short drive away for fans, including games taking place in Asheville, Johnson City, and Dalton, Georgia.
How much are tickets?
General admission tickets for all home games are $16, and the $99 main season pass package is available for all seven home games. Fans can also pay $16 to donate tickets to local non-profit partners.
The season ticket package provides early entry to the stadium on game days and has a total savings of $13. The current offer ends May 14th.
Tickets are available at oneknoxsc.com/tickets. All proceeds from the first game will be donated directly to Austin East, according to a press release.
Who plays for One Knoxville SC?
One Knoxville SC is a pre-professional USL League Two soccer team, sponsored by the United Soccer League. League 2 teams, which typically consist of high school and college players with professional potential, are not paid.
But head coach Mark McIver has a vision to take the pro team and has been working alongside Knoxville SC players from around the world to prepare for the season.
Knoxville SC has a few Knoxville players looking to make an impact, including Senegalese refugee Sadibo Seck, who helped lead the Austin East boys soccer team into their first official championship in 2021.
Also on the team are West High School senior White Press, local program sales representative Gustavo Rivera, former Bearden High School star Colin Lewis, and former Webb School representative in Knoxville, Cameron Fowler.
Any special plans for the first match?
Knoxville SC pulls off all stops for home debuts, including pre- and post-game parties. McKenna said the after-game party will be taking place downtown at Balter Beerworks, and all fans are welcome.
Food trucks, entertainment and merchandise will be on hand for the match. Merchandise is also available at oneknoxsc.com/merch, where fans can show their support by purchasing T-shirts, hats, flags, T-shirts and more.
How did we get here and what next?
Knox News first reported in January 2021 that football was coming to Scruffy City in an effort to be led by a group of five local owners.
After months of feedback from fans, the club reached One Knoxville Sporting Club as its name in July. Other options included Knoxville Rovers and Knoxville Ascent.
Then, the logo was revealed in August, followed by the appointment of McKeever in January and the unveiling of the collection in March. McKeever led Danger Des Moines to the USL League 2 championship just last year.
A Knoxville SC school will share the mixed-use Tennessee Smokies stadium complex in Old Town when it opens, which may not happen until 2025 — at least, not for baseball.
“One of Knox’s playing to survive,” McKenna said. “We have great aspirations for ourselves on the field, and this first game is the first test to understand how competitive we can be.
“We know Knoxville loves a winner, and a win is on our agenda Saturday night.”