STATESBORO, Ga. (WSAV) – Tormenta FC edged out the Chattanooga Red Wolves 2-1 to become the USL League One champions. Kazaiah Sterling, Tormenta FC’s forward, received MVP honors after scoring one goal and assisting on the team’s second goal.
The first score came around the 35th-minute mark on a penalty kick. Sterling went one-on-one with the Red Wolves’ goalie to score his 17th goal this season (tied for the most in the league).
However, the lead would be short-lived. Almost ten minutes later, Jose Carrera Garcia’s kick for the Red Wolves would bounce off one of his teammate’s head and into the back of the net to even the game at 1-1.
The next score would not happen until the 82nd minute when Sterling displayed his passing skills. Jamil Roberts, Tormenta FC’s midfielder, broke ahead of the pack and delivered Sterling’s pass into the back of the net, giving Tormenta FC the 2-1 edge.
As time expired, players rushed onto the field to celebrate.
“I can’t even describe the feeling,” Sterling said in his post-game interview. “I know that sounds so cliché, but it almost doesn’t feel real, doing this here at home in the new stadium. It’s like a dream come true.”
Sterling and his teammates celebrated with the trophy lifting it up and down in the air and waving a shirt with Carter David Payne‘s picture. Payne played for Tormenta FC’s USL League Two team before being struck and killed by a vehicle during a hit-and-run on July 9th.
“Like we discussed before, it’s very important to our team we keep him [Payne] with us while we are playing,” Sterling said. “We all believe that he helped push and drive us to be where we are today. So, it was only right that we paid tribute to him.”
Tomenta FC’s men’s and women’s soccer club won the USL Championship in 2022, something that has not been done in the modern era.