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Celebrating Five Years: Q&A with Ayao Sossou

By Bernadette O'Donnell -, 11/17/20, 5:30PM EST


First signed player felt at home with Tormenta FC

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, fans will hear from the very first player to sign with Tormenta FC, club legend Ayao Sossou. Born in Togo, he played professionally abroad, as well as in the U.S with the Rochester Rhinos, before signing with Tormenta in 2016. Sossou also was an integral piece of TFC Academy throughout his time with the club.

What does it mean to you being the first player ever signed by Tormenta FC?

To be honest, I don't even know what to say. The fact that Ben Freakley, Darin and Mrs. Netra trusted and believed in me enough to sign me as the first-ever player to this great franchise meant the world to me back then.

And now to see that Tormenta is still crushing it after five years and, even better, is a professional franchise says it all. The goal was always to become a professional franchise, and Darin and Mrs. Netra made it happen in three years. That's AMAZING! I love Tormenta, and I know this is just the beginning. As Darin always says, "Great things await."

What made you choose Tormenta FC and what made you stay?

I've said this before, and I will continue to say it. I chose Tormenta because I felt at HOME. I remember Ben called me to talk about Tormenta back in December of 2015. At that time, I was still trying to play professionally and was going on trials, so I told him I would think about it. He called me again in January and told me I needed to come to visit and see for myself. I finally decided to take a visit later that month and met with Darin and Mrs. Netra and Ben, and it was a no-brainer. I knew right away that's where I wanted to be. I felt at HOME.

Why leave when you've felt at HOME? HAHA but seriously, I enjoyed every second of the three years that I was part of the club and wish I would have stayed longer, but the reality was that I was 28 at that time. If I would have just been getting out of college at 21, I would still be playing for Tormenta today. I had just turned 28 in the middle of my third season, and I knew that my time playing at that level was pretty done and wanted to focus on coaching.

How has Tormenta FC grown over these last five years?

Well, the goal was always to go pro, and it was done in three seasons! That alone is huge growth and a great achievement. And to top it off, I personally think that the announcement of building a stadium was the highlight. I can not wait to see that stadium field.

Watch: Ayao Sossou Player Profile

As a former TFC Academy coach, what are your thoughts on the academy’s growing success?

I think it's phenomenal. The first year with Tormenta, we only had one player from the youth academy that got the opportunity to train and play with us, James Brighton, who was 16 at that time. Now there are multiple youth players like Tristan, Grant, and Stephen who are getting those chances, and that's what you want to see. That just tells you about the success of the academy. Hopefully, that number continues to grow every year.

What is your favorite memory from the 2018 season?

To be honest, I didn't have a favorite moment. That whole season was absolutely fantastic, and I enjoyed every moment of it. What a team and season that was! I just wish we could have gone all the way in the playoffs.

Is there a memorable match from 2018 that sticks out in your mind?

Tormenta 3 - Myrtle Beach 0. I remember that game like it was yesterday. In my personal opinion, Myrtle Beach was always one of our toughest opponents, and to beat them by 3 goals was a great feeling. And to make it even better, I finally scored my first goal with Tormenta in that match.

OH and to top it all off and what made the win stick out more was the fact that Darin told me in the locker room right before the game that he felt good about today and that we were going to win and even said that I was going to score. No games in my 3 years tops that.

What was the atmosphere like for home matches in 2018?

Absolutely AMAZING!!! That game day atmosphere at Erk Russell under the lights with the fans being so close to you, that feeling was just UNREAL. Darin, Mrs. Netra, the front office, and everyone that worked on game days made it such a surreal atmosphere to play in. I can't thank everyone that worked on game days enough. I don't think I ever had a bad game at Erk Russell Park! That's how amazing it was.