Athlete(s) of the Week: The Gutierrez sisters compete side by side for Tormenta FC
You can hear Helen Gutierrez’s voice all over the field, cheering on her friends.
“It’s really cool and moving,” Gutierrez said.
Those cheers are especially strong for one teammate in particular: her sister Isabella, who goes by the name Bella.
“I remember training with these players and being Bella’s little sister,” Helen said. “It was ‘don’t touch her, don’t hurt her, she’s too small’, but now I’m here and training with them.”
Bella and Helen team up on the USL W League team Tormenta FC, a new semi-pro women’s soccer team in Statesboro that offers opportunities the sisters never had growing up.
“When we started, we had to travel at least an hour to train,” Bella said. “And now that training is in our backyard, playing for a team that is pushing to win a championship is all we ever wanted.”
Helen and Bella were supposed to play together at Furman University last year, but a series of knee injuries kept Helen sidelined.
“My knee injuries started in second year and I just got back, so my family and friends here haven’t had a chance to see me play. It’s really exciting,” Helen said.
Now the sisters have more than each other’s company; they also train with their younger brother Viviana, a Statesboro High School student who will get the chance to race with college-aged and older girls.
“They know where the others will be, they know how to play and what surface of the foot they’re going to use to get the ball from player to player,” head coach Jim Robbins said. “It will help with the team chemistry.”
All three sisters are from Statesboro and have the chance to play not only with each other, but also for their community.
“To come back and fight for something so tangible and so real with my family, meaning my sisters and everyone I grew up with playing here, I don’t think you can paint a picture. more perfect story than you I find right here,” Bella said.
USL W League team Tormenta FC will play their first match Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at Erk Russell Park in Statesboro against SC United Bantams. The tickets are still available.