SAVANNAH, GA. (WTOC) - Like pretty much every other professional team, Statesboro’s Tormenta F.C. has had their season delayed, and are in a holding pattern for the time being.
The season opener would have been over a month ago on March 28, now the ball is in the league’s hands as to if and when games will be played.
Soccer is a pretty fluid game. Trying to make plans of any kind during a pandemic is pretty fluid as well.
“We’re just trying to play, and bring some sense or normalcy," said club owner Darin Van Tassell. "I think our challenge for Tormenta and the USL [United Soccer League], and every sport is not whether or not we’re going to play, but weather or not we can play with fans, and if we can play with fans, just how many.”
The season has been delayed, but the players are still receiving meals twice a day, quarantined with their roommates, and trying to keep in shape in the event they can play in the near future.
Van Tassell said the pandemic has challenged the club in a variety of ways.
“We are all wearing hats we have never ever worn before, but, I think they’re in the best shape they’ve ever been in in their life.”
The club has been around just five years, and are in the midst of a stadium build.
Not having a season, or playing without fans could have a massive impact on the organization.
“No pro team can afford for the season to not take place, and the second thing we can’t afford to have happen is for our season to take place with no fans, and yet we’re staring both of those in the face," Van Tassell explained.
He said they’ll keep in communication with season ticket holders as they learn more, but they’re optimistic they may be able to do small group workouts soon, since some other professional leagues like the NBA are working toward that.
“We could start in July and still get every regular season game in, for example," said Van Tassell. "We’ve planned it, mapped that out, and July is sixty days away, so there’s still a lot of planning to it, but so many unique ideas.”
He is optimistic there will be soccer in Statesboro in 2020.
"I think we really have until the end of May, first two weeks of June for us to decide whether we’re going to go or not, and what capacity that’s going to look like, and you know, if anything, in this environment that’s an eternity.”
The United Soccer League has suspended operations through May 15. On April 30, the league cancelled Tormenta 2′s season, along with the rest of the USL League 2, so to develop players, Tormenta is hoping to play exhibitions and friendlies with other clubs in the division when it is safe to do so.
While the games aren’t happening right now ... construction on the stadium in Statesboro is ongoing, the team says that development, which also includes a Publix and retail space, has been slowed down by the pandemic.