The first professional season for South Georgia Tormenta FC is only a month away, but it was talk of the 2020 season that stole the show during a preseason scrimmage against the Tampa Bay Rowdies Saturday evening at Erk Russell Park.
During halftime of the exhibition match, Tormenta formally announced that it will break ground on its new home stadium during a ceremony scheduled for Wednesday, March 27 at 5:30 p.m.
“We’ve been very up front about our intentions ever since we began this journey,” Tormenta team president Darin Van Tassell said. “We had the goal of growing this organization into a professional team and to build a stadium of our own.”
No firm completion date is set for the stadium, but Van Tassell says that he expects Tormenta to play its first game of 2020 in its new home.
One of the triggers for Tormenta’s rapid growth from an upstart PDL squad in 2016 to a professional side has been immense fan support and the integration of the team into the Statesboro community. Players will be more visible than ever now that they will be full-time residents of the town and the fans are invited to be as close as ever to the club’s day-to-day operations.
During Saturday’s announcement, Van Tassell said that fans were not only invited to the March 27 stadium groundbreaking, but that it will be a “B.Y.O.S.” – or, “Bring Your Own Shovel” – event.
“We want everyone to be involved,” Van Tassell said. “If you come out, bring a shovel and be a part of our growth.”
Also announced on Saturday was that a major grocery chain will be announcing its groundbreaking plans for a supermarket in the business development that will be constructed between the new stadium and the 301 bypass. In addition to the grocery chain’s arrival, building plans also state that hotels, a movie theater, a bank and additional restaurants and retail will fill the site.
“We’re very excited about what the stadium means for our team,” Van Tassell said. “But this is all big for our community. The stadium will be soccer-specific, but also compatible for many other events. The new businesses that will be building next to the stadium will bring a huge boost to our community.”
To put a cherry on top of what was already a memorable evening, Tormenta defeated Tampa Bay 3-2, with former Rowdies player Alex Morrell scoring a pair including the game-winner early in the second half.
Tormenta’s first USL League One game is scheduled for Friday, March 29 against Greenville Triumph FC at Erk Russell Park.