The United States soccer landscape looks quite different after Thursday’s announcement in Statesboro.
South Georgia Tormenta FC was announced as the first official team in the new professional division three of US soccer, USL-D3.
Tormenta FC was founded in 2015 and played in the Premier Development League for the first time in 2016. PDL is the highest level of amateur soccer in the country.
With Atlanta United in Major League Soccer and Atlanta United 2 at the USL level, this move will mean, currently, that Georgia is the only state in the country with a team in all three professional divisions.
“With USL Division Two and the launch of a Division Three league, we know that Statesboro will be strong,” said USL-D3 Vice President Steven Short.
A soccer-specific 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 USLD3.com. The current intention is for this facility to play host for Georgia Southern University men's and women's soccer games as well.
The stadium and land surrounding will also house retail and office space. The stadium is also planned to host concerts and other music/festival events.
“It will allow us to host concerts and other outdoor events. It will be a full-time venue for Statesboro and South Georgia,” said team co-owner Darin Van Tassell.
Van Tassell says they'll play a longer season than they do now, which means more chances for tourists to come to town, spend the night, and spend money.
Local business people say soccer is already a tourism draw.
“We've seen probably a 65 to 75 percent jump in just two years of people coming in strictly because of soccer,” said El Rico Rickard, the manager at Springhill Suites.
Van Tassell says they'll break ground later this year and announce soon the stores and offices moving in to share space with Statesboro's first pro sports team.
“We are just getting started. There's more big news to come,” he said.
Tormenta expects to have the stadium finished in 2019 when the new league starts playing games in March. In the meantime, they'll play this coming season at Georgia Southern while construction begins.
You can watch the full announcement below:
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