The National Independent Soccer Association announced on Wednesday that it had approved Savannah Clovers FC for membership.

The club will start play in the 2023 season, marking the first season of professional soccer in Savannah, Ga.’s history.

“We are thrilled that Savannah Clovers FC has joined us and our quest for a true open system in the United States,” NISA executive vice president Josh Prutch said in a statement. “Shane Folgado and his staff have done such a great job in the last five years of developing the club and connecting with the community. It will be a strong addition to our growing southeast presence.”

The Clovers have competed in the United Premier Soccer League since its inception in 2016. The team participated in the 2020 and 2021 editions of the NISA Independent Cup.

“We are thrilled to have our application accepted by NISA’s board and to bring professional soccer to Savannah,” Clovers CEO Shane Folgado said in a statement. “We are certain that Savannah is uniquely positioned to support a team of this caliber, and we look forward to bringing the world’s game to this historic and beloved city.”

The club was co-founded by Brian Sykes, who will retain an ownership stake in the team.

“We are very pleased to have our application approved by the National Independent Soccer Association,” Sykes said in a statement. “We believe NISA is a great fit for our club as we make the jump to professional soccer, and we are beyond excited about the opportunity to showcase the world’s game in Savannah.”

The Clovers were founded as an amateur soccer club on June 23, 2016.