Soccer player from Phoenix killed in hit-and-run in Georgia
SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC/3TV/CBS 5) — A 20-year-old man from Phoenix has died following a hit-and-run crash in Georgia. Statesboro Police say around 1 a.m. Saturday, Carter Payne was crossing a road on a Lime electric scooter when he was hit by a vehicle that drove away. He was flown to a hospital, where he later died.
The Phoenix native was a first-year soccer player with Tormenta FC 2 and he played in eight games. His Michigan bio says he played on the Wolverines roster from 2019-2020.
Prior to playing in Michigan and Georgia, Payne was part of the Barcelona Residency Academy in Casa Grande. He attended Shadow Mountain High School in Phoenix and graduated in 2019, according to MaxPreps.com.
The Ibis Foundation will accept donations in memory of Carter, which will go to the family and to fund a new Carter Payne Scholarship, in which one TFC Academy player’s team and uniform fees will be covered each year, starting with the TFC Academy’s 2023 season.
“We brought him here. Carter was still at the University of Michigan playing and we brought him here with the anticipation, like all of our League Two players do, to sign a professional contract, and that was trending well for him for sure,” said Tormenta FC owner Darin Van Tassell.
He added that all the Tormenta teams came together for several hours Saturday night where the owners shared the news that Payne had died from his injuries.
“We gathered at the clubhouse last night. 10:30 p.m., we went to about 2:00 a.m., just kind of being and honoring one of our teammates,” Van Tassell said. “Carter was super healthy and his parents made a very brave decision about being an organ donor and, you know, here’s the reality - there’s probably somewhere between 10 and 20 families today who are quite joyful because of Carter and I think we should lean in to that.”
Van Tassell said that Payne’s teammates have decided to play their scheduled game Tuesday on the road against Peachtree City MOBA in his honor. One of Payne’s teammates was with him at the time of the accident.
“Carter was with one of his teammates. They were separated for distance at the time, but he was certainly quite brave and made sure his coaches and ownership all knew, and he was close with Carter and called the family directly,” Van Tassell said.
Before Sunday’s game, the women’s team had a moment of silence and took a picture holding up 2′s, Payne’s jersey number.
“A fan favorite -- no question. Carter grew up playing in Barcelona’s academy in Arizona before he went to Michigan, and then we got him here. You know, he was part of Statesboro in a very short period of time, which made him part of the USL Two, and listen, I think people should be really honored to know that people from around the soccer world, which is a global sport, have been reaching out to Tormenta and sharing their good thoughts,” Van Tassell added.
Tormenta has created a fund in his memory.
Copyright 2022 WTOC/KTVK/KPHO. All rights reserved.