Emerald Youth and Knoxville Soccer Join Forces

Knoxville Soccer LLC and Emerald Youth Foundation are merging their soccer initiatives to have a greater community impact. The Knoxville Force and Knoxville Lady Force, semi-professional teams owned and operated by Knoxville Soccer LLC, will become one entity and club during 2014 with the Emerald Force Soccer Club.

The new alliance will enhance the missions of Emerald Youth and Knoxville Soccer, said Steve Diggs, Emerald Youth executive director and Dr. Barry Goss, president of Knoxville Soccer LLC. The Emerald Force Soccer Club is a recreational and club program of Emerald Youth Foundation and currently has more than 300, primarily urban, soccer players. Knoxville Soccer founded the men’s Knoxville Force team in 2011 and the Knoxville Lady Force in 2012 within the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) and the Women’s Premier Soccer League (WPSL). 

“We were approached by Knoxville Soccer in 2013 about this partnership and are pleased to see it come to fruition. We are very thrilled to have these talented athletes as role models for Knoxville’s urban youth,” Diggs said. Emerald Youth is a nonprofit ministry that serves more than 1,400 inner city young people yearly with faith, education and sports programs. 

Since its inception, the Knoxville Force and Knoxville Lady Force have embraced the mission “to serve as a focal point for social change by offering soccer programs and projects that enhance the health and well-being of a broad and diverse population of the Knoxville community, including underprivileged youth and underrepresented social and ethnic groups.” 

“This partnership will allow us to advance our commitment to bringing a higher level of the world’s most popular sport, soccer, to Knoxville in a manner that should have a major positive impact on our area’s urban youth. We are extremely pleased to be able to work with Emerald Youth Foundation,” Goss said. 

The Knoxville Force and Emerald Youth Foundation share a longstanding, good relationship based partly on the groups’ mutual respect for soccer as an ideal sport for city children. As Emerald has built its soccer program, the Emerald Force, members of the Knoxville Force and Knoxville Lady Force have served as teachers and coaches. This alliance formalizes and strengthens this relationship.

The Knoxville Force will open the 2014 season May 10 against the Nashville Football Club at Regal Soccer Stadium on the University of Tennessee campus. Area youth club soccer teams are invited to attend the home opener.

Throughout the season, youth club teams will receive special recognition at each home game, starting May 10 with the Emerald Force.

“Soccer games in the beautiful Regal Soccer Stadium are perfect family outings on summer nights,” Goss said.

ORNL Federal Credit Union is the title sponsor of the Knoxville Force and Pro2Serve is title sponsor of the Knoxville Lady Force for the 2014 season.

The home schedule includes:
Knoxville Force
May 10 Nashville Football Club
May 31 Chattanooga Football Club
June 6 Atlanta Silverbacks Reserves
June 7 Pensacola City Football Club
June 15 Georgia Revolution
June 27 Rocket City Unite

Knoxville Lady Force
May 31 Chattanooga Football Club
June 7 Alabama Football Club
June 15 Mississippi Fuego
June 27 Nashville Wolves
July 5 Georgia Revolution

Complete schedules, including start times and away games, admission prices, and other game details are available online at www.knoxvilleforce.com.

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Catherine Richards