STATESBORA, Ga. (WTOC) - Statesboro-based soccer club Tormenta FC is hopeful they’ll be back on the pitch to kick off their season next month.
The USL League One Board of Governors voted to approve a framework for the league’s return to play, including a provision restart date of July 18.
The league has not released information on a revised schedule, competition format, or health and safety guidelines.
“We have a lot of work to do, including working with our state and local governments to resume play,” Tormenta FC co-owner Darin Van Tassell says in a statement released by the club. "There are still some unknowns, but this much is clear: Statesboro and South Georgia will be seeing pro soccer shortly. And we could all use the joy of sports in our country a little right now.”
Tormenta was weeks away from kicking off their second professional season when the coronavirus pandemic forced the league to postpone opening day. Head coach John Miglarese says having at least a date to aim for is a good thing.
“I think relief would be the best way to put it,” he says. “I’m excited for these guys because they’ll get a chance to express themselves and represent our club.”
Players have been able to hold modified workout in small groups since mid-May. Even in the early days of the shut down, players and club officials expressed optimism they would be able to play in 2020.
But Miglarese says seeing the German Bundesliga return to play last month and the way the league tested and kept its players safe gave him and others hope they’d be back on the pitch sooner rather than later.
“I think the Bundesliga saved us all in a lot of ways. I think it showed that it can be done," Miglarese says. “It’s clearly a safe environment. It’s clearly a competitive environment.”
Even though the league has not released any details, Miglarese expects the health and safety return guidelines to be rigid. But he says Tormenta is willing to do whatever it takes to play this season.
“It won’t be easy. It’s going to be a challenge. But I think our club is up for it, and we want to play the game that we love. We want to inspire our community. We want to provide a pathway for young players one day,” he says. "I think we can do it within these guidelines to make sure that we’re being safe and that we’re representing our community in an orderly fashion.”