The National Premier Soccer League announced Thursday that Appalachian FC has joined the league as an expansion team.

Located in Boone, N.C., the club will begin competition in the East Region in 2021.

“We are thrilled to add a team in North Carolina – and one that has a strong leadership team, a solid business plan, and a market thirsting for a local soccer team to grow up with their community,” NPSL managing director Cindy Spera said in a statement. “The ownership group has a wealth of both soccer and business experience. They have already secured several local sponsors and are positioned to make an impact in their community from day one.”

Appalachian Soccer Group LLC has created a unique ownership model built for maximum success. The ownership group is made up of former Appalachian State men’s soccer coach Jason O’Keefe, 919 Sports Management and PMI combined with top Boone business owners and community and soccer leaders.

O’Keefe is regarded as the top soccer professional in Boone as a result of a successful career building the Appalachian State men’s soccer program. The company 919 Sports Management is providing in-house legal counsel, while PMI is a sports management company that brings 25 years of soccer management experience.

“We will bring NPSL soccer to the High Country with a strong ownership group committed to connecting with the community and establishing the club as a professionally run and operated club,” O’Keefe said in statement. “This will fill the void left in the High Country after Appalachian State cut their men’s soccer program this summer. We will provide affordable, quality family entertainment next summer.”

Appalachian Soccer Group LLC will provide opportunities for local students to pursue a sports management career, players to pursue their dreams, supporters to have a team to call their own in their backyard, companies to give back to their community while growing their business, and local owners to build a soccer legacy. The club will inspire local youth soccer players to reach their potential and provide the community with high-level, affordable summer entertainment in the High Country.

“Expanding in North Carolina is important for the NPSL mission to grow the sport of soccer throughout the U.S. and we look forward to representing the High Country against great teams from the East Region,” O’Keefe said. “Boone is a soccer-loving market that will passionately support its hometown soccer team on a beautiful summer night in the High Country.”