When St. Vincent’s Academy grad Erin O’Hearn thought about her future soccer career in high school, her dreams were limited to playing in college since there was no viable path for most women to play professionally.
That changed for soccer players across the Coastal Empire and beyond Tuesday with the announcement of Tormenta FC’s new women’s team, which will begin play in 2022.
“I think it’s a really cool experience,” O’Hearn said. “It’s something I never envisioned myself doing but I’m really happy to take it on.”
The new team, which has yet to be named, is part of the also-new USL W league, which will have a season that starts in May and ends with the league playoffs in July.
Tormenta FC will draw from the ranks of its academy to fill out the team, as well as from women’s soccer players at various regional colleges.
O’Hearn, who played soccer at Furman University and has been part of Tormenta for more than a decade, plans to join. She says the opportunity to be an inspiration to the young girls she coaches made it an easy decision
“I think the opportunity now that they get to watch older girls play soccer and compete at a really high level is going to be really exciting for them,” O’Hearn said. “It’s a space for them to say my dream is to play professional soccer now.”
Team co-owner Netra Van Tassell has sought ways to advance the women’s game ever since the team started in 2015.
“We’re providing encouragement to be able to show a young girl or female of any age that you can do whatever it is you want to do in whatever way shape or form you want to do it,” Van Tassell said.
The USL-W league unveiled seven other founding clubs along with the new Tormenta FC affiliate.