LEXINGTON, Ky. – Lexington Sporting travels to Regal Stadium in Knoxville, Tenn., for its inaugural United Soccer League (USL) League One matchup against One Knoxville SC on Saturday at 7 p.m.
The match, which is part of the opening weekend for the USL League One, marks the historic professional debut for both clubs. One Knox SC moved up from the pre-professional USL League Two.
The two sides announced an official rivalry earlier this week. The winner of the aggregate total of the three games between the clubs will take with them bragging rights, a full-size whiskey barrel, and a bottle of bourbon from a distiller located in the losing Club’s locale. After Saturday, the two will meet May 27 (in Lexington) and August 18 (in Knoxville).
Head Coach Sam Stockley’s Lexington SC squad features a mix of veterans and players on their first professional contracts. The recently appointed “leadership group” of Will Baynham, Kaelon Fox, Amal Knight, Charlie Machell and Don Smart figures to set the tone for the upcoming season.
Lexington’s own Kimball Jackson (Lafayette High School) and Diallo Irakoze (Bryan Station High School) will each make their professional debuts. Fox, a Louisville native, played at the University of Kentucky from 2013-16 and enters his fifth season as a pro.
- The match will be streaming on ESPN+
- For in-game updates and other content, follow Lexington SC on Twitter and Instagram
Both sides made their first professional signings in the leadup to the season, with Kaelon Fox being announced as Lexington’s first player while Ilija Ilic, who will also act as an assistant coach, was One Knox SC’s first signing.
Lexington SC boasts eight players who previously played for clubs that will partake in the 2023 USL League One and USL Championship seasons. That group includes Cesar Murillo Jr., who has been part of two USL League One title winners, and Owen Green, who recently won the league with South Georgia Tormenta FC in 2022. One, Don Smart, has been part of two other inaugural seasons, first at Indy Eleven (2014) and again with Forward Madison FC (2019).
In its five preseason friendly matches, Lexington SC had five different players score goals with two players, Nico Brown and Will Baynham, scoring two. Drew Patterson, Erick Ceja Gonzalez and Kaelon Fox each tallied one goal.
About Lexington Sporting Club
Lexington Sporting Club is a U.S. Soccer professional soccer club competing in USL League One (U.S. Soccer Third Division Men’s Professional Soccer League). Launching its inaugural professional season in 2023, the professional team is the pinnacle of the soccer eco-system in Lexington and features more than 1,400 players within its youth and academy systems, a pre-professional women’s team beginning in 2023 in the USL W League and is in the process of building the club’s formal stadium, performance center and training fields.