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Gabriel Rodriguez returns to Statesboro on first professional deal

By Staff, 03/01/24, 5:30PM EST


Former South Georgia Tormenta FC 2 striker excelled for Ibises' development team

Former South Georgia Tormenta FC 2 striker excelled for Ibises' development team | Image Credit: University of Charleston

STATESBORO, Ga. - South Georgia Tormenta today announced the signing of Gabriel Rodriguez on a one-year contract with a club option for 2025, pending league and federation approval. The 27-year-old Colombian striker joins the Tormenta FC team after his impressive 2023 season with the South Carolina United Bantams in USL League Two.

Rodriguez most recently played with SC United Bantams during the summer of 2023, where he played in five matches and totaled one goal and two assists. 

The striker participated in the 2023 U.S. Open Cup with Des Moines Menace, where in two matches he scored one goal. In the season prior, he played in the 2022 U.S. Open Cup with the same club and scored one goal and had one assist in the two games played in the tournament. 

Rodriguez is not new to Tormenta FC, as he spent his 2021 season playing for South Georgia Tormenta FC 2 where he had 14 appearances and a total of 10 goals – seven of which during the regular season and the remaining three netted in playoff games.

"To start, I'm extremely excited to be back at Tormenta FC. I wanted to come back to Tormenta FC because I know the coaching staff very well, and they know what I can provide to the team," Rodriguez explained. "I had a fantastic summer back in 2021 playing in [USL] League Two here and I'm happy to be back to play in front of great fans and community. Also, our fans can expect that I will give it my all, work hard, and score goals. Here's to a great season – Vamos Tormenta!”

The 27-year-old goalscorer spent the 2019 to 2021 seasons playing with the University of Charleston in the Mountain East Conference at the NCAA Division II level. In his time there he scored 33 goals, created 15 assists and made 58 appearances for the Golden Eagles. 

Rodriguez has earned many accolades, most notably, the 2019 NCAA Division II National Champion, the MEC Conference Tournament Champion three times over, two-time MEC Regular Season Champion, two-time Regional Champion, 2021 Division II National Runner-Up, two-time All-Conference First Team MEC, All-Tournament First Team MEC, All-Atlantic First Team and All-American First Team. 

During the 2021 spring season, Rodriguez was one of the top performers across the country, ranking second in the nation for the most points, third in the nation with the most goals, and eighth with the most assists. 

Prior to playing in Charleston, Rodriguez played his first year of college soccer at Laredo College in 2018 where he scored seven goals and had 11 assists. He played for another team within the college called Laredo Heat where he scored nine goals and had one assist. Here he was awarded Heartland Conference Champion 2018, Top Goal Scorer Heartland Conference 2018 and Regular Season Champion 2018. 

The striker spent 2016 playing in Colombia with America Pedro Sellares U-20s, 2015 with both the Universidad Autonoma del Caribe U-18s and America de Cali U-17s and 2014 with Leeds United U-16 team in England. 

"Having shown really well for our USL League Two program in the past Gabi has remained on our radar since," South Georgia Head Coach Ian Cameron said. "He combines clever runs in behind with the ability to link play effectively. He has also demonstrated resilience in his patience to sign his first pro contract and we're thrilled to see him do so for our organization. He's hungry to prove himself within USL and now he has that platform."

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