South Georgia Tormenta FC has announced the transfer of club legend Joshua Phelps to Melbourne Knights FC of the National Premier Leagues Victoria (NPL Victoria), the second-tier of the Australian Soccer League System, for an undisclosed transfer fee.
Initially signing with Tormenta FC 2 in 2017, Phelps moved his way up to the first team and became the first player to reach 100 club appearances for South Georgia across all competitions. In September 2018, Phelps signed a professional contract with Tormenta FC, becoming the first player signed to a professional contract in the newly-formed USL League One. Phelps appeared in 84 matches for the Statesboro side in League One regular season play. He also helped the organization win its first-ever USL League One title in 2022.
“My time here at Tormenta FC has been huge regarding my development as a player and a person,” Joshua Phelps said.
“I have been able to help influence many areas within the club, from the front office, the Academy, the Ibis Foundation, and as a player. I can’t thank the organization enough, the owners in Darin and Netra Van Tassell, Jeff and Alaina Spencer, and the coaching staff: Ian, Tommo, Jordan, Jorge, and Drew; thanks for your continued trust and belief. Thanks to all the people behind the scenes — Dr. G, Brandon and Megan with Sports Psychology, Cam, and the Sports Science team. This operation wouldn’t be possible without your dedication. I can leave the club knowing it’s in a better place with phenomenal people who will continue what we began. I can finally check that box. We did it. We are champions.”
“Melbourne Knights is a club with a lot of history and success in Australia,” Phelps said.
“I am excited to play under Ben Cahn while continuing to develop myself as a player. The decision to leave the U.S. and come back to play in Australia wasn’t easy, but the new challenge ahead of adding to the long history of Melbourne Knights excites me. The growth happening around Australian Football is exciting. To be a part of an ambitious club and to continue climbing the ladder of professional football is a challenge I’m keen for.”
Phelps departs South Georgia with 120 matches played across all competitions, ranking first in club appearances. Notably, with six appearances in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, Phelps has featured in every Tormenta FC Open Cup match.
In the 2022 USL League One season, Phelps featured in 30 games, all of those as a starter. Phelps contributed one goal on the season and played over 2,600 minutes.
Throughout his tenure at Tormenta FC, Phelps has proven to be a versatile player; although a center back, he has played as a striker on occasions when needed. In addition, Phelps has also captained the club on several occasions, making him one of the few players in Tormenta FC history to wear the captain’s armband.
Melbourne Knights FC is an Australian soccer club based in the suburb of Sunshine North, Melbourne, Victoria. The club currently competes in NPL Victoria. It is one of Australia’s most successful soccer clubs, being a two-time championship and four-time premiership winner in the now-defunct National Soccer League.
Phelp’s move signifies the club’s continued commitment to developing its players on and off the pitch and helping them achieve their highest level of play wherever possible. The Path to Pro model, starting at Tormenta FC 2, helps players develop and provide a group of talented athletes an opportunity to showcase themselves to the professional team. As a result, many talented players have risen to the professional ranks from Tormenta FC 2, whether through the first team, throughout professional leagues in the United States, or abroad.
South Georgia also hopes to further integrate with the global game and use the transfer market to reinvest in its talent and build its club for today and tomorrow. Tormenta FC thanks Joshua for his efforts and contribution while at the club and wishes him the best in his new journey.
In 2023, the club will play its first entire season from Optim Sports Medicine Field at Tormenta Stadium in Statesboro, Georgia. Supporters should purchase tickets in advance to secure their spot at Tormenta Stadium and cheer on the USL League Two side and the reigning W League and USL League One champion Tormenta FC.