Tormenta FC owner remembers player killed in hit-and-run

Published: Jul. 10, 2022 at 10:02 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 10, 2022 at 11:14 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - A 20-year-old man died after being airlifted to the hospital in Savannah following a hit-and-run near Georgia Southern’s Statesboro campus.

That man has been identified as Tormenta FC 2 defender Carter Payne.

Payne was riding a Lime scooter when he was hit by a vehicle that left the scene.

This was Payne’s first year with Tormenta and he played in eight games.

“We brought him here. Carter was still at the University of Michigan playing and we brought him here with the anticipation, like all of our League Two players do, to sign a professional contract, and that was trending well for him for sure,” said team owner Darin Van Tassell.

He added that all the Tormenta teams came together for several hours Saturday night where the owners shared the news that Payne had died from his injuries.

“We gathered at the clubhouse last night. 10:30 P.M., we went to about 2:00 A.M., just kind of being and honoring one of our teammates,” Van Tassell said. “Carter was super healthy and his parents made a very brave decision about being an organ donor and, you know, here’s the reality- there’s probably somewhere between 10 and 20 families today who are quite joyful because of Carter and I think we should lean in to that.”

Van Tassell said that Payne’s teammates have decided to play their scheduled game Tuesday on the road against Peachtree City MOBA in his honor. One of Payne’s teammates was with him at the time of the accident.

“Carter was with one of his teammates. They were separated for distance at the time, but he was certainly quite brave and made sure his coaches and ownership all knew, and he was close with Carter and called the family directly,” Van Tassell said.

Before Sunday’s game, the women’s team had a moment of silence and took a picture holding up 2′s, Payne’s jersey number.

“A fan favorite-- no question. Carter grew up playing in Barcelona’s academy in Arizona before he went to Michigan, and then we got him here. You know, he was part of Statesboro in a very short period of time, which made him part of the USL Two, and listen, I think people should be really honored to know that people from around the soccer world, which is a global sport, have been reaching out to Tormenta and sharing their good thoughts,” Van Tassell added.

Tormenta has created a fund in his memory.

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