Elise Holcey, a senior and Savannah Academy of Arts footballer at the Tormenta FC Academy, is the first player to sign with the Tormenta team in the new USL W League, starting in May 2022.

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.