On Friday evening, South Georgia Tormenta FC Owner and President Darin Van Tassell formally announced the club’s intention to explore the possibilities to research moving into the ranks of professional soccer in downtown Statesboro, Georgia.
According to Van Tassell, Tormenta FC has been closely following the development of the USL’s new Division III league since the announcement in April and has begun exploring the application process.
“That’s where we’d like to be,” Van Tassell said. “We’ve already taken steps to expand our ownership to comply with the standards of the new league. The next step is to ensure more success and support this season as we look to grow our fan base.”
Tormenta FC currently competes in the Premier Development League, the top amateur league in North America. The club, which competes at Erk Russell Athletic Park on the campus of Georgia Southern University, is set to play its first 2017 league game on Saturday.
“Our fans can certainly help by cheering us on at games and growing our season-ticket base, but the community as a whole is already benefiting us," Van Tassell said. "When the USL looks at what Statesboro did in the America’s Best Community competition and sees that we’re hosting the Sun Belt baseball tournament soon, it shows that we come together to build great things. It’s also big for us that the Tormenta Youth Academy has great support in the Savannah area.”
In April, Statesboro earned the $1 million third-place prize in the America’s Best Communities Competition after more than 50 cities from across the nation submitted an application. The competition recognizes the nation's premier cities.
The USL Division III is focused on expanding into new markets that possess a strong local ownership group, an established fan base and a proper venue to showcase the sport for fans and players. On Friday, Van Tassell revealed intentions to expand the ownership group of Tormenta FC, as well as build a 5,000-seat stadium.
“We’re going to begin the process of looking into building our own soccer-specific stadium,” Van Tassell said. “Our intentions are to locate it on the current property at The Clubhouse [on Old Register Road].”