By: Monica Casey | WCTV Eyewitness News
May 6, 2019
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- The Tallahassee Soccer Club played its first game on Saturday, ending in a 1-1 draw versus the Savannah Clovers.
Attendance at the game was double what was expected; the club had bleachers set up for 300, and about 600 fans attended. There were two weather delays during the game, but it did not drive away fans, who streamed across the street and waited out the rain.
"We were obviously expecting to see some fans coming down beforehand and hopefully hear the screams and shouts and enjoyment from the game," said Jason Burroughs, the general manager at Township. "What we actually saw was probably twice as many fans as we would've expected beforehand."
Township, one of the restaurants across from the FSU intramural fields where the team will play its home games, hopes the fans will kick start summer business after students have left.
"This is gonna be great for us in May and June when there are two of our slower months from a student standpoint," said Burroughs. "We can really show off that Township is for everybody, and then you have a great place to go and see a good sport afterwards."
In addition to helping out local businesses at a critical time, the community has high hopes for the team to bring in more tourists. Visit Tallahassee is a sponsor of the club as part of a strategic partnership to bring visibility to the area.
The team plays in the Gulf Coast Premiere League, which stretches from central Texas to West Palm Beach. The team will travel to play in Mobile, Alabama twice, as well as Pensacola, Biloxi, Hattiesburg and Fairhope, Alabama.
The away jerseys bear the Visit Tallahassee logo, urging sports fans to take a trip to Tallahassee.
"The whole league has a tremendous social media following of almost 40,000 folks, through the whole season we can expect to reach about 25,000 visitors in our key drive market, and it's also live streamed," said Kerri Post, the director of the Leon County Division of Tourism. "This town is excited for the Tallahassee Soccer Club, and so are we."
Visit Tallahassee also has branding at home games, including cowbells, thunder stick noisemakers and a visitors tent.
"This is a smart team, they've done so many things right and I think it's evident by so many folks, this community has just totally bought into this team," said Post.
Many enjoy the local aspect of the team.
"The guys are from here and grew up, went to high school, or came here and played on the local college teams around, or have relocated here for career interests, so it's the same faces that you see when you're at the grocery store or out at your job," said Burroughs.
The soccer club's next game is away in Mobile, but the next home game is May 18 against the Gulf Coast Rangers.
You can view the full schedule here.