Elise Holcey can be considered a late arrival in the game among her peers, having started playing football at the age of 9 years.
“I understand this a lot. People always expect me to say I was 3 years old when I started,” Holcey, now 17, said Wednesday. “On my ninth birthday I remember I scored a goal. It was YMCA football when I started.”
It was in Zanesville, Ohio, where she was growing up on her grandparents ’farm. Her family moved to Savannah when Holcey was 11 years old. She got involved in club football, played with and against girls older than her and showed an elite talent.
Holcey will be the first among her peers in the country to sign with the South Georgia women’s Tormenta FC team in the new USL W League, a national association which starts playing in May 2022 with a play-off that ends in late July. The Stateboro-based organization on Friday will announce Holcey as the first player on the list.
“When I heard they were brainstorming to come up with this (W League), I said I really wanted to deal with it,” Holcey said. “I really want to go to the next level, and this is the next step to do that.
“I am very excited to play and play bigger football,” she said. “I’m ready to play now thinking about it.”
Coming to Stateboro:South Georgia Tormenta FC football club will add the women team in 2022
Holcey’s goal is to play professionally, such as in the National Women’s Football League. The United Soccer League announced in June the formation of a new pre-professional women’s league, positioned as a path to the best pro league that would include high school and college players who could retain their amateur status.
Holcey is a senior at the Savannah Academy of Arts, where she played for the school football team and plans to compete this spring. She has also strengthened her football education by joining the Tormenta FC Academy at the age of 15 in 2019.
“It’s full-time and year-round football,” said Holcey, a striker and attacking midfielder currently captain of the U-19 Select team, the Tormenta Academy top-level girls’ team.
“I’ve been completely impressed with Elise, both on and off the field, since we started working together last August,” said Jim Robbins, the head coach of her academy team and the new W League entry. field, she possesses all the football skills needed to be successful in the USL W League.
“She has a unique set of attacking skills that we can continue to develop and display here at Tormenta FC this summer and for the next years of her career. She is a cunning dribbler, has great vision, creates opportunities for teammates. her team and she can score goals of all kinds inside and around the penalty area. “
More W League:Tormenta will play one of the 8 founding football teams of the USL W League in 2022
Robbins called him a dynamic and dangerous goal scorer. He also said that she is a professional and a perfect teammate who has earned the respect of her teammates.
Holcey calls herself a natural leader in what she communicates well and encourages her teammates. Her strengths include ball control and the ability to finish in scoring cases, but she also sees areas for growth.
“I feel like I need to work harder on my technique and my skills to surround the players, and maybe I need to be a little more confident,” said Holcey.
She especially enjoys her role as a coach of 2-10 year old academy players, especially those 7-10 years old, because they better understand the direction of coaching. It is a guideline that all youth football coaches should emphasize.
“Splitting is a really big job, splitting the ball,” Holcey said. “We have to teach them a few life lessons. Besides, it’s a lot of football.”
Her younger sister, Ava, also plays for Tormenta FC Academy.
“Away from the pitch, Elise embodies everything Tormenta FC is known for,” said Robbins. “She fits in well with the culture of our club, she has great character, she is a natural leader and she is a strong student. She is also a great teammate and a positive ambassador of the game. She really determines what she wants. “means being a good athlete. I can’t wait to work with him at the USL W League level.”
As seen on TV
Although football was not her first sport as an elementary school student – she was obsessed with volleyball and archery – Holcey fell in love with her while watching the U.S. women’s national team on television. Her favorite player was Abby Wambach, and she modeled her game after Carli Lloyd’s.
“When you look at it, you have a feeling, like I really want to do it,” she recalls. “It just ignites something. Then when you play with your friends and you don’t want to stop, it’s that kind of feeling. You just want to keep playing.”
Holcey played last summer for Savannah Spirit, another team on the Coastal Empire football scene in the Women’s Premier League. The Spirit list included current high school and college players, as well as some post-college players.
“It was a lot of fun playing with college girls because they’re older, so you look at them. They train you too,” Holcey said.
She plans to play in college and said she has an offer from Southern Wesleyan, which she visited in Central, SC. She is currently enrolled in Savannah Arts and on the Armstrong campus of the University of South Georgia in Savannah.
More:Tormenta FC offers football skills camps with an emphasis on entertainment for children with disabilities
Player tests are scheduled
The Tormenta FC W League team, which will start playing in May, will have an open rehearsal on Sunday, December 12, with sessions from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., at The Clubhouse Fields in Stateboro.
Athletes who want to try can sign up online for $ 75 at TormentaFC.com/trials or sign up for a walk on December 12 for $ 100. All participants will receive a Tormenta FC training t-shirt.
The new women’s team will play its matches at the Optim Health System Field at the new Tormenta FC stadium in Stateboro. The facility will also serve as home to the USL League One professional team, the USL League Two amateur team, and Georgia Southern University NCAA Division I men and women soccer teams.
For more information, follow Tormenta Women on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. To learn more about the USL W League, visit USLWLeague.com or follow the W League on Twitter at @USLWLeague.
Nathan Dominitz is the Sports Content Editor of Savannah Morning News and savannahnow.com. Email it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @NathanDominitz