STATESBORO, GA (WTOC) - The Coastal Empire's newest pro team will be kicking off their first season next May.
Just a generation ago, South Georgia rallied around Georgia Southern's fledgling football program to help get it where it is now. Owners of Statesboro's new minor league soccer franchise hope folks will do the same for them.
The newly named South Georgia Tormenta FC join the Premiere Development League to bring pro sports to Statesboro.
The team's president said the name came from an online contest with over 200 entries.
"You can't have a team without a name. Now, we're moving forward with season ticket orders and all the other things a team has to do," said Team President Darin Van Tassell.
Community leaders believe the team's seven home games will bring soccer fans and more tourists to Statesboro.
"If you look at pro soccer, I hope we see tremendous growth, and with repeat visitors as well," said Statesboro Mayor Jan Moore.
The team named former Georgia Southern soccer player Ben Freakley as its general manager. Franklin, who's already served as college head coach, must field a team from scratch.
"The priority is getting more than just good soccer players, but getting young men that will help make this community better," said Freakley, Tormenta FC General Manager.
Van Tassell says they'll be the only game in town, as they play in the summer.
"Even if you're not a die-hard soccer fan, you're going to enjoy the atmosphere and the game events that will be memorable," said Van Tassell.
The team already has one excited fan in Mayor Moore.
"We're going to be hospitable. We're going to welcome you, shake your hand, and beat the tar out of you," said Mayor Moore.
Van Tassell hopes they can carry this excitement and momentum into next year, and the first home game.
For ticket and apparel information, visit Tormenta FC's website here.
For more information on the Premier Development League, click here.