The National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) is proud to announce that 865 Alliance (Knoxville, TN) has joined the league as an expansion team. The club will begin play in 2023.
“The NPSL is pleased to welcome 865 Alliance, adding Knoxville as one of our key cities in the Southeast of the country,” NPSL Managing Director Cindy Spera said. “We continue to grow this area, and the addition of 865 Alliance is a critical cornerstone of our development. This group has a seasoned management team with strong ties to the greater soccer community, local business, and has a fanbase that is eager to embrace a local team.”
The club will be led by President Jon Schneider and Vice President Josh Gray.
“The history and high level of the NPSL is what makes it such a great choice for our program,” Schneider said. “The league has so many strong conferences and teams. It will give our fans the opportunity to see some of the best soccer in the United States. With the growth of our youth program, this will give them a chance to come home after college and represent our region from their own backyards.”
Schneider is the founder of FC Alliance and National Soccer Events. National Soccer Events is a tournament management company that was started in 2014 and runs approximately 22 youth tournaments a year throughout the southeast.
Schneider is one of the most successful coaches in the history of the state of Tennessee. He has won 17 state championships and had teams advance to the state finals another nine times. He was a regional finalist and won the Regional League three times. Twice his teams have won the Southern Regional Premier League, and twice they have won the Disney Showcase. Schneider coached the highly successful 98 Boys Black to multiple state championships and a berth in the National League, a first for club soccer in East Tennessee. He was named state coach of the year by the Tennessee State Soccer Association for his many accomplishments.
In his 35 years of coaching, he has developed players who have moved on to play every level of college, professional, and international soccer. The effect Schneider has had on the growth of youth soccer in Knoxville is immeasurable. He founded Impact Soccer Club in Knoxville which eventually he turned into FC Alliance by bringing in multiple other clubs. He has personally contributed to adding soccer fields and facilities through the entire area. Schneider is a former college player himself, having played for both Andrew College and Tennessee Wesleyan.
“Our youth program has seen tremendous growth in the last decade,” Schneider said. “We have been so fortunate to have a lot of great players come through our system; many have moved on to college soccer and beyond. Our hope is to bring many of them back for our NPSL team. By rostering players who have local roots, we believe it will bring large crowds and an exciting atmosphere. Any time a league has strong attendance, it energizes everyone and makes it a desirable destination for top players. Our home games won’t just be games; they will be events.”
Gray has been a leader in the soccer community for the last 20 years. He has been successful as a coach, director, coach educator, league administrator, and college placement coordinator. He is one of the most successful coaches in Tennessee having won most major showcases in the country, several state championships, and has had teams qualify for the ECNL Champions League four times in the last five years. In the last 20 years he has placed over 300 players into college at all levels while building a network of colleagues to assist with the placement of players at the correct level.
FC Alliance was founded in 2008. It was originally a merger between several large clubs in Knoxville, and it immediately became the largest youth club in the city. In 2010, over 90% of players and coaches from the next largest club in Knoxville joined. The two winningest coaches in the history of Tennessee soccer coach with FC Alliance. Since 2010, over 500 players have moved on to play college soccer. Alumni have played professional soccer both domestically and abroad. One former player has several national team caps for his home country. Currently, both FC Alliance boys and girls participate in the ECNL (Elite Clubs National League).
Supporters can visit www.865alliance.com or follow the club on Facebook (@865Alliance), Instagram (@865_alliance), and Twitter (@865Alliance).
“We are pleased that 865 Alliance chose the NPSL to help further the growth of their club,” NPSL Director of Membership Development Dina Case said. “865 Alliance brings a well-established and respected club to the table, and we are confident that they will be a successful business partner for the league. It will be great for the NPSL to have a presence in the Knoxville market which will help to further the league’s growth in the region.”
More information about expansion opportunities in the NPSL can be found at npsl.com/expansion.