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The brotherly connection for One Knoxville SC

Stephen Afrifa is the team's leading goal scorer. His brother Simon is starting to get more playing time. The two can be seen now on the front line at the same time.
Credit: WBIR

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — As the USL League 2 playoffs have eight teams with their season still alive, One Knoxville SC is three wins away from being crowned champions.

A big reason they've gotten to this point is their goal-scoring machine forward Stephen Afrifa. He leads the team, scoring 10 goals in 15 games.

“Every time I score it’s the same reaction," Stephen said. "I love it. I always want to keep scoring more. I’m a striker. I expect to score goals. I’ve been working towards those goals and every game I make sure I leave something on the field to help the team.”

While he has seen plenty of success come his way, what has also made him happier is his brother’s development. Simon Afrifa is also a forward on the team. He didn't play much at the start of the season but is seeing an increase in minutes as he has steadily improved through the season.

Stephen has been helping him through that process.

“He motivates me every time," Simon said. "I had confidence in myself when I came here so, I knew it would eventually happen for me and it did. So I’m grateful.”

In games now, you can see them on the front line at the same time, side by side, brother and brother. Earlier this month, it led to a special moment.

In a game against the Southern Soccer Academy Kings, Stephen assisted Simon on his first USL 2 goal.

“It felt good you know, I’ve been working hard at practice and everything," Simon said. "It felt good to get that first goal, more to come.”

Stephen recalled that moment with a smile.

“It’s an instinctual thing,"  Stephen said. "I heard his voice. I didn’t know the direction it was coming from. I just put the ball in the space and he did what he was supposed to do with it.”

As the two see the playing field with each other more, they hope to connect again on another goal.

One Knoxville SC takes on NC Fusion in the Southern Conference Finals on Friday night at 7:30 p.m. at Austin-East High School.

The winner will play in the national semifinal on Sunday at 7:30 p.m. against Long Island or Seacrest United.

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