TAMPA, Fla – The Premier Development League’s South Georgia Tormenta FC was unveiled today as the first founding member club of the new USL Division III, set to launch in 2019. The high-performing club will compete in its third PDL season in 2018 before moving to USL Division III.
Operated by Majority Owners Darin and Netra Van Tassell, Tormenta FC has competed in the PDL the past two seasons, establishing itself as one of the top pre-professional teams in the country. The club was named the PDL’s New Franchise of the Year in 2016 and was a runner-up for the PDL’s Franchise of the Year award in 2017.
“Today’s announcement in Statesboro is a proud moment for the PDL, which has served as the home for South Georgia Tormenta FC for the past two seasons,” said PDL Co-Director Chris Madden. “The PDL is dedicated to being the pathway to professionalism for all, including players, coaches and clubs, and Tormenta FC’s move to USL Division III is an exemplary display of that philosophy in action. We’re proud to have been the home for Tormenta FC and a platform for the club’s incredible growth.”
“The move to the professional ranks of the new USL Division III is well-deserved for Tormenta FC,” said PDL Co-Director Mike Panter. “The PDL continues to prove its status as North America’s top pre-professional league and will continue to play a key part in the development of American clubs, players and coaches. We wish the best to our friends at Tormenta FC and are thrilled that the deserving fans in Statesboro will experience professional soccer in 2019.”
Entering its 24th season, the Premier Development League continues to develop and grow, with more than 75 teams set to compete in 2018. The addition of new member clubs such as a to-be-named Birmingham franchise, the AHFC Royals, Lansing United, Corpus Christi FC, Lionsbridge FC, Ogden City SC, SF Glens SC and Kaw Valley FC ensures that the PDL will remain the premier destination for U23 players in North America.
“Tormenta FC is a first-class organization, and Darin and Netra Van Tassell have been at the forefront of the club’s success since its founding in 2015,” said USL CEO Alec Papadakis. “We are excited to bring the thrill of professional soccer to South Georgia, as Tormenta FC continues to be a catalyst for growth in the community. The club’s remarkable new facility in Statesboro will not only be one of the best in the region but also be a standard-bearer for the entire third-division landscape in North America.”
A part of the United Soccer Leagues, which also operates the Division II USL, the newly-announced USL Division III and Super Y League, the PDL has served as the proven stepping-stone for aspiring professionals.
More than 70 percent of all MLS SuperDraft selections since 2010 have PDL experience, including a total of 66 alums chosen in 2018. Among the many players to have played in the PDL before making their professional debuts include Newcastle United FC defender DeAndre Yedlin, 2017 MLS Goalkeeper of the Year Tim Melia, 2017 MLS Defender of the Year Ike Opara and U.S. Men’s National Team members such as Darlington Nagbe, Brad Guzan, Geoff Cameron and Tim Ream.