Late in June, South Georgia Tormenta FC officially released tentative plans for a new, soccer-specific stadium to be build on what is currently the driving range at Hackers. Along with the released plans and artist’s renderings came the announcement that the club is looking at a move up to the professional ranks when the United Soccer League begins its ‘D3’ league in 2019.
Tormenta has shown at every corner that the willingness and motivation is present to quickly build the team into a winner at high levels. Now, the club is reaching out to its supporters to show that the enthusiasm and commitment to improvement is something that everyone can get behind.
The club is currently seeking out a goal of 10,000 ‘votes’ on its website to show a community-wide interest and backing for the future of both Tormenta and increased soccer presence in Statesboro.
“The mission of this is to work on the macro side of stadium funding,” team president Darin Van Tassell said. “We want to hear from fans on whether this is a project they will support. Instead of just a petition, we’re looking for people to cast a vote with money behind it.”
Fans can log on to the team website and follow a link that will ask them to cast a $10 ‘vote’. People may vote as many times as they’d like and there is currently no deadline for votes and contributions to be cast.
Many different causes have taken the approach of asking for small amounts of money here and there, but Tormenta FC is working on a different and unique angle with its sales pitch. While the overall hope is that the campaign will show the support necessary to move ahead with new stadium plans, the money contributed via voting isn’t going directly into a stadium fund.
Instead, the money will go to the Ibis Foundation - the philanthropic organization linked to Tormenta that seeks to provide opportunities to teach and grow the game of soccer in and around Tormenta’s sphere of influence.
“Voting or donating to this cause will show what opportunities there are to do more with the game in our area,” Ibis Foundation head David Ball Sr. said. “This is what allows us to put on camps and help youth teams organize and begin playing.”
With plans to privately fund any potential stadium, Tormenta sees votes for their cause as a sort of grassroots growth initiative that shows the potential fan base and how it might work to support a larger club endeavor.
“We’ve done some traditional things,” Van Tassell said. “You get information from exploratory studies and feasability studies. But this shows us a new side of where we can build our franchise. With this voting, we will get feedback on an individual basis about their support for Tormenta.”
Another unique quirk in the process is that the money given for each ‘vote’ is much more of an investment than a donation.
In addition to the money going towards already-existing programs and projects instead of accounting for a small bit of conrete or steel in a future stadium, each vote can also be used as an advance payment towards the support of the 2018 version of Tormenta.
Any fans who are already season ticket holders - or who plan to be next season - can attach their name to their vote. All money given through the voting process will be applied toward the cost of that person’s 2018 season ticket purchases. In effect, each $10 ‘vote’ works twice as hard for the vote-giver as the money works toward the goals of the Ibis Foundation while also serving as a down payment for Tormenta tickets.
“We’re working hard as a front office to do some of the big things in terms of building a stadium,” Van Tassell said. “It’s not about building everything with money from these votes. The votes just go to show the community support we have for our team and for our sport.”
The voting outreach was first announced publicly during Tormenta’s final regular season game in July. That single public request from the team has already produced solid support from the current fan base and season ticket holders. Tormenta hopes that an offseason filled with franchise updates and continued aspirations for bigger and better things in the near future will keep the votes rolling in.
To cast a vote, and for more information on the voting initiative, prospective donors can visit tormentafc.com