Eagle Field — usually the home of Georgia Southern soccer — is about to be overwhelmed by a storm.
More specifically, Tormenta (the Spanish word for a storm) is approaching.
At 7:30 p.m. tonight, Tormenta FC will play its first ever home game as the brand new minor league soccer club takes on the Carolina Dynamo. Tormenta quickly made its bones in the competitive Premier Development League as it earned a point on the road, drawing the Tri-Cities Otters last week in Tennessee.
But now it's time to see what lies in store when Statesboro gets a chance to embrace its newest team.
“It's exciting. I think everyone is looking forward to it,” Tormenta goalkeeper Anton Widen said. “We've seen the support just from making our way around the community in the last week. I think it's going to be a fun time if everyone shows up to the game.”
So far, everything has gone according to the plan.
With less than two weeks of practice before its first game, Tormenta coach Ben Freakley stressed effort and commitment to defense last week. That paid off in the clean sheet, but Freakley also admitted there was room to grow.
He specified opportunities to counter-attack and possibly create more chances on offense.
“We've worked a lot on that,” Widen said. “From the back, I can see things developing. As the back line gets comfortable, they're doing a better job of creating for everyone up the field.”
Even after getting the first game jitters out of their system last week, Tormenta will likely have a familiar feeling tonight when they play in front of their fans for the first time.
"We stressed playing with focus and composure and to not let emotion get the best of us," Freakley said following the season opener. "It's going to be the same (tonight). It's going to be great playing with a 12th man in the crowd, but we still have to be focused and commit to executing on the field.
A goal or two and a Tormenta victory would be great, but the atmosphere surrounding the last few days indicates that tonight will be a party, no matter what.
Banners and windscreens have taken over the Eagle Field grounds and now proudly proclaim it as Tormenta territory. Additional seating has been added down the sidelines and behind both goals to accommodate the huge numbers of preseason ticket sales and a pregame party at Eagle Creek Brewing Company on Friday night stirred plenty of fans into a frenzy that will carry over into tonight's game.
Prior to the game, Tormenta's younger fans will have a chance to hit the field before the team does. Throughout the season, any child with a season ticket or a ticket to that day's game will receive free entry into a skills clinic run by Tormenta players.
Additional promotions for fans, young and old alike, will continue as the season runs through the beginning of August.
Mike Anthony may be reached at (912) 489-9408.