Early in May, South Georgia Tormenta FC announced plans to both look into building a stadium of its own and possibly make the move to become a full professional franchise.
A big announcement on the former is bringing the franchise closer to the latter.
On Friday, the United Soccer League – currently hosting the second tier of professional soccer in the United States with plans on starting a third-tier league in 2019 – released concept drawings of a potential stadium to be built in Statesboro as discussed between the league and Tormenta.
While a finalized deal to build a stadium is not complete, the images certainly indicate that Tormenta, only in its second season as a franchise, is barreling full steam ahead with its long-term goals.
“We made the decision that this was the right time to show people something,” team president Darin Van Tassell said. “We appreciate so much the support we’ve received so far. Hopefully having something people can hold in their hands and see will help us continue to generate that support we need to make this franchise successful.”
Concept images for the proposed stadium come from ThenDesign Architecture. Tormenta announced at its first ever press conference in 2015 that it intended to win and grow – preferably quickly. The club was making good on those promises behind the scenes as the architecture firm has been in discussions with Tormenta for nearly two years, working and reworking ideas for what should be included in a potential stadium.
As proposed, the 5,000-plus seat stadium facility would be built on the current site of the driving range of Hackers Golf Park on Old Register Road.
“This is so much more that just a soccer-specific stadium where we can play our games,” Van Tassell said. “There is a plan to make this a business and retail center that can become a great place in Statesboro.
“There is also the soccer side. By building over 5,000 seats, we would put ourselves in a position to host international friendlies and Open Cup tournament games. In the end, we envision this being a versatile stadium that will be in use for our community year-round.”
While ThenDesign Architecture has been working on the possibilities of a new stadium, New South Construction Company has partnered with Tormenta to make those possibilities a reality.
In addition to the 5,000-plus seating capacity, the proposed stadium would feature a concourse with retail and dining options and, at one end of the stadium, a large facility with the ability to hold the club’s front offices, team locker rooms and training facilities.
With Tormenta still playing its home games at the Georgia Southern Soccer Complex, all of this is quite ambitious. But that has been the goal of the franchise and Van Tassell from the start, after all.
Van Tassell stated that a main hurdle to clear to keep the project moving forward is to secure a sponsor for naming rights to the stadium. And while nothing is confirmed yet, he said that there are discussions being held with multiple potential partners and that he is optimistic that progress will continue, as planned.
A professional team that draws in better players and competition is the ultimate goal for Tormenta, but the club hopes that a new stadium can also have a positive effect on Statesboro that reaches beyond soccer.
“Georgia Southern has shown that you can attain success at the highest levels of athletics here,” Van Tassell said. “A place like Splash in the Boro has shown that it can be a regional draw. Statesboro has always been able to accomplish bigger and better things than the demographics might suggest. This is a growing town and Tormenta wants to be a part of the growth and success.”