One Knoxville Sporting Club prepares for first professional season

One Knox SC takes on Lexington SC March 18th at Regal Stadium on UT campus.
One Knox SC takes on Lexington SC March 18th at Regal Stadium on UT campus.
Published: Mar. 17, 2023 at 10:14 AM EDT|Updated: Mar. 17, 2023 at 11:05 AM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - One Knoxville Sporting Club starts its season on March 18 against Lexington SC. The team is in a new league with new players. The former USL League Two team joined League One after a successful 2022 season.

Head Coach Mark McKeever said he knows the pace is different in this league. “Try not to sprint and fall over. Take one day at a time, one week at a time,” he said.

The team will be playing at Regal Stadium on the University of Tennessee campus. “It’s a great facility, it’ll be great for the players but even better for the fans, hopefully, we can put on a spectacle,” McKeever said.

He added that soccer as a sport in the US is picking up steam.

“I’ve been in the US now since ‘97, and the progress it’s made has been phenomenal,” McKeever said. “When I first came I was in Texas for the first two years and it was all football and baseball fields and now you see soccer fields and it pulls at my heartstrings.”

For the players, pushing themselves at practice is key.

“We are training pretty much five days a week with the game the other day and then one day off per week. It requires a lot of energy, a lot of discipline, and a lot of drive to be showing up each and every day and working as hard as we can,” said Defender Derek Waldeck.

The club isn’t just focused on winning matches, though. One Knoxville is teaming up with United Way of Greater Knoxville to do some good during the season with the Goals for Good initiative.

Goals for Good will allow partnering businesses and fans to pledge a dollar amount donation to various causes throughout the season for every goal One Knox scores at home.

Previous Coverage: One Knoxville SC announces ‘Goals for Good’ community initiative

The first match will see donations go towards The Community Schools Initiative, a program that uses public schools as a way to organize community resources supporting health, safety and academic resources.

The game on March 18 will also mark the first in a series of rivalry games, with a bottle of whiskey (or bourbon) on the line, along with a barrel trophy.

Previous Coverage: One Knoxville SC announces Lexington SC rivalry trophy

They hope to see a lot of fans in the stand this year. You can buy tickets here.