SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Erin O’Hearn is a familiar face on the Savannah soccer scene. The former St. Vincent’s star is now suiting up for the Savannah Spirit, playing their second ever home game tonight at Benedictine.
For O’Hearn it’s not just an opportunity to continue the game she loves, it’s a chance to help grow the game in her hometown for girls just like her.
“I grew up here. I was born and raised here in Savannah. The women’s teams I looked up to were not in Savannah,” she says. “The fact that we’re trying to bring soccer to Savannah is an awesome opportunity.”
The Spirit took down MOBA Peachtree City 2-1 Wednesday night in the final home exhibition of the summer.
It was a game that brought a couple hundred to BC’s Father Albert Field. Many of those in attendance were young women getting a chance to see their game up close.
“It’s awesome. It’s so cool,” O’Hearn smiles. “That’s what I always wanted as a younger girl.”
Wednesday night’s game offered fans a chance to help Girls on the Run, a group out to help girls develop confidence through running. It’s a message the group is glad to see played out on the soccer pitch by a team Savannah can call its own.
“I think it’s great,” said Girls on the Run Executive Director Leah Kessler. “I think it gives girls in our program that much more initiative to be athletic, and celebrate athleticism.”
Kessler says having a women’s team in town could be a major win for young girls in south Georgia.
“Athletics are a male dominated arena,” she says. “I love seeing women step up, take part, and show off just the amazing women they are.”
The Spirit may just be a few games into their existence, but the team hopes they’re already building a fan base and setting an example for the potential future stars on the pitch.
“I think every young girl in Savannah can look up to this team, and be like, ‘This is cool, and I can do that, and I want to do that,‘” O’Hearn says.
The Spirit will play their final exhibition match of the summer Saturday in Columbia against SC United Bantams.