The end of the 2020 season marks a pivotal milestone for South Georgia Tormenta FC - five years completed as a club. Five years of thrilling home matches, title-winning seasons and Twitter-breaking goals. Looking back, there is so much to celebrate, and we plan to highlight these victories and achievements, big and small, over the course of this offseason as we prepare for 2021.
In this Q&A, Ben Freakley looks back on Tormenta FC's 2016 season. Freakley was the club's first-ever General Manager and Head Coach, leading the team to a winning 13-8-7 record in its first season of play. He now works with the Toronto Blue Jays as a mental performance coach.
For me, it was a goal to remind the world that a great soccer club can come from anywhere.
So many. Living with all the players in the apartments. Getting to eat with them every morning at The Clubhouse. The winning road trip weekend when we defeated the Eagles and Greensboro. Circled up with the team after our last game of the season. Looking at all those guys and the work they had put in to give TFC a winning season in their first year as a franchise. So many moments. Watching the team sing on the bus after our first victory. It was an honor to have a front-row seat for those experiences.
For sure our first win versus the Charlotte Eagles had to be a favorite. But I also cherish seeing young James Brighton (at 16 years old) hold his own. Also seeing Sydney McClain come on and score against MOBA after several games not being in the lineup. It was a testament to the work rate and belief we wanted with all players at TFC. Seeing him come on and change the game just like that. I was so happy for him.
We had over 3000 people at our first home game. For me, that said the community wanted to get behind Tormenta FC.
Electric. The team would score a goal, and the fans behind that goal would be able to celebrate with the players. Darin and I talked so much back then about the fan experience. You have to put a team on the field that the fans want to get behind. Coming to games was more than watching a soccer match. The whole night was an experience. Credit to DVT and Netra for their insight on how to make it more than a game.
The plans for the facilities are going to be first-rate for both club and community.
John Miglarese and Ian Cameron are first-rate human beings. Both those men have guided the team over the last few years and knowing them both personally, I think their leadership is what the club needs. Especially with Ian, I love seeing young coaches get a chance. Bringing more homegrown youth players up the system is another win for the club worth celebrating.
For sure it was the stadium that pulled a community together. Having two teams and a stadium was something I would never have imagined, but they are pulling it off. Tormenta FC has put soccer on the map in Statesboro. I rode on a patch of dirt with DVT on his green gator in 2014 when it was just an idea. This club has come so far, and it's still going. As DVT always says, "Great things await."