Tormenta FC to be named founding member of new USL division

(Source: WTOC/file)
(Source: WTOC/file)

STATESBORO, GA (WTOC) - Tormenta FC will be announced as the first official team in the new United Soccer League - Division 3.

The USL vice president said on a radio show/podcast, Soccer Down Here, that Tormenta will be a founding member of the league.

The official unveiling will be on Thursday and you can watch the news conference live on D3's official Facebook page.

Team President Darin Van Tassell announced earlier last year the organization would explore the option of moving from the top amateur league in the United States, the Premier Development League, to the newly founded USL-D3. Van Tassell stated at a downtown event in Statesboro that the team needed to accomplish a few goals and make a few changes to make the move a possibility. The organization's own stadium is one of the top goals.

Tormenta currently plays its home games at Erk Russell Athletic Park on the campus of Georgia Southern University.

"There is something great about stepping into a soccer stadium on game day.Nnothing is like it, so that's why we're bringing that here to Statesboro and the greater-Savannah area," said John Miglarese, head coach of Tormenta FC. "People know each other. People care about each other, and they're sports crazy. They are a minor league town through and through."

There are three professional soccer divisions in the United States. Atlanta United FC is a "division one" team, playing in Major League Soccer. Next, there's the Charleston Battery, a "division two" team in the USL. Right now, a "division three" league does not exist until 2019, which Tormenta will join in the inaugural season.

"There is a need to fill that tier with some strong markets and franchises, so we're gonna be the first to go and there will be more to follow," Miglarese said.

Tormenta plans to recruit from all over the world, and they already have. Ayao Sossou was born in Africa and moved to the U.S. at age 11. Since then, he has played professional soccer in New York, Ecuador, and Finland, but landed right here in South Georgia.

"I just fell in love with it," Sossou said. "I fell in love with Statesboro. I fell in love with Savannah and I felt like this was my home."

Ayao is retiring as a player but is taking his knowledge into a coaching career.

"A lot of players come in trying to play pro but they don't really have the heart. They don't want to put in the effort. They don't know what it takes. That's the biggest thing," Ayao said.

Players now have a path to play in a professional league one day if they prepare well and block out distractions.

"We're all linked and there's a true development ladder for these players to aspire to," Miglarese said.

The stadium site is planned for Old Register Road near The Clubhouse and would seat 5,000 people, with the possibility of expanding up to 10,000, according to No matter what age or league, players will all have access to the stadium once it's finished.

The league is set to begin sometime in 2019. Again, the official announcement is expected on Thursday. More information is also expected on the proposed Tormenta stadium.

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