MASL FINALIZES DIVISIONS AND CONFERENCES FOR 2016-17 SEASON

Lakeland, FL – The Major Arena Soccer League has set the league’s conference and division lineup for the upcoming season as 17 teams will play in two conferences and four divisions for the 2016-17 season as the league looks to strengthen its base for the future. Teams will once again break into Eastern and Western Conferences, with two divisions in each conference.

“We have placed our focus on increasing standards and working with the member organizations to improve their respective market situations,” said MASL Commissioner Joshua Schaub. “This setup will give us a league of great parity, further allow all teams to continue featuring their longstanding rivalries while also growing the MASL’s prominence in North America.”

The Western Conference’s Pacific Division will be the Ontario Fury, San Diego Sockers, Tacoma Stars and Turlock Express. The Southwest Division will include Atletico Baja, Dallas Sidekicks, expansion El Paso Coyotes and defending conference champion Soles de Sonora.

The Eastern Conference will have the lone five-team division, with the Central Division featuring the Cedar Rapids Rampage, Chicago Mustangs, Milwaukee Wave, Kansas City Comets and St. Louis Ambush. The Eastern Division has the defending MASL Ron Newman Cup Champion Baltimore Blast, expansion Florida Tropics, Harrisburg Heat and Syracuse Silver Knights.

“We feel these divisions will keep and grow the established rivalries in our league and establish geographic efficiencies,” Schaub said. “Ontario and Tacoma battled for the final Western playoff spot to the last game last season, and Syracuse nearly derailed the Blast on their road to the Ron Newman Cup last Spring, so it should continue to be another exciting season where the outcome of every game is in doubt.”

With the league’s new focus, four teams have chosen to suspend operations for the 2016-17 season, while still maintaining their MASL membership. Brownsville, Detroit, Las Vegas and Saltillo, will sit out the upcoming season in an effort to improve operations and facilities with an eye towards returning the following season. The Monterrey franchise, which won the league title in 2014-15 before sitting out the 2015-16 season, has been granted a one-year extension on its MASL membership. The Sacramento Surge has ceased operations and its membership will be relocated with a destination to be announced in the near future.

“Although it was a difficult decision for all of these teams to suspend operations, I commend them for taking a year to improve standards in order to take this league to the levels we believe it can reach,” Schaub said. “We will be working with these teams to improve their facility and business operations so that they can come back strong in the Fall of 2017.”

The Major Arena Soccer League season will begin Oct. 29, with the regular season ending in early March. A full schedule and final playoff breakdown will be completed within the next week. For more information about the league, go to the league’s website at MASLSoccer.com. Andrew Haines, Andrew G. Haines

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TROPICS SIGN FLORIDA RAISED, BRAZILIAN STRIKER, CARLOS ARAUJO

Lakeland, FL – The Tropics have announced the signing of another Florida raised Brazilian player this afternoon. Carlos Araujo ‘Junior’ will be joining the Tropics inaugural season roster as a target forward with very high expectations. Junior has international experience playing in Europe, as well as in USL’s Premier Development League.

Carlos Araujo ‘Junior’ grew up in Recife, PE, Brazil, before moving to Florida where he attended Freedom High School. Junior was an all state soccer player at Freedom, where he scored over 30 goals in less than 17 games. While helping to lead Freedom High School, Junior also played for the Orange County Strikers and Ajax American soccer club alongside Tropics defender and recent signing JP Reyes.

In 2008, Junior played for the Central Florida Kraze where he led them to a first place finish in the southeast division and conference semifinals. After much success, Junior played one more season for the Kraze before heading across the Atlantic to further his career.

In 2009, Junior took his talents to Europe where he played in the French league with Beziers and Pau FC. After a few seasons in France, Junior decided to return to the US in 2011, where he joined with PDL side The Villages FC. Junior led The Villages FC to a southeast division championship, making the southern all conference team and scoring the second most goals throughout the entire league.

“We are excited to have Junior join the Tropics organization. He adds strength and experience to our offense, and we have high expectations for him once he fully adapts to the indoor game. We think he can continue to be a leader in goals scored, and can’t wait to see him take the field come November,” said Tropics CEO and Owner Andrew Haines.

You can purchase tickets to see Junior in action by calling 863-33-5353 or visiting Store.FLTropics.com.

About Florida Tropics SC: Florida Tropics SC is a professional indoor soccer team that will begin play in November of 2016 at the Lakeland Center. The team will play at the highest level of professional indoor soccer in North America. To stay up to date on team information, player signings and special offers, “Like” the teams Facebook page (www.Facebook.com/FLTropics). For more information visit http://www.FLTropics.com. To purchase tickets, call 863-333-5353, or visit Store.FLTropics.com

TROPICS SIGN PRO SOCCER VETERAN AND FLORIDA NATIVE, JP REYES

Lakeland, FL – Tropics CEO Andrew Haines announced the signing of Ecuadorian Juan Pablo ‘JP’ Reyes this afternoon. Reyes has an impressive resume and is expected to bring even more veteran experience to the Tropics roster. Reyes is a Florida native who has both indoor and outdoor professional soccer experience.

Although his family has roots to Ecuador, Reyes grew up in Orange County, Florida, where he attended William R. Boone High School. Reyes was an All State soccer player and played for the Ajax American soccer club. Reyes went on to play in the USL Premier Development League for the Cocoa Expos in 2006, and the Central Florida Kraze in 2007.

Reyes spent the 2007-2008 indoor season with the Orlando Sharks of the Major Indoor Soccer League. On April 16, 2008, the Rochester Rhinos of the USL First Division announced the signing of Reyes. This was a big move for Reyes, as the Rhinos are one of the most historic and successful franchises in the USL.

Reyes spent the 2009 season in the NISL with the Rockford Rampage’s for their inaugural season. Reyes spent the following year with Ecuador’s 1st Division side Manta FC. In 2011, Reyes returned to the PDL with the Central Florida Kraze. The team made the playoffs and finished 2nd in the southern conference.

Following a successful few years with his outdoor soccer career, Reyes signed with the Rochester Lancers for their inaugural season in late 2011. Reyes would finish the 2011-12 season with the Lancer rival, the Syracuse Silverknights.

Reyes then returned to outdoor play with the Tampa Marauders in the NPSL. During the 2013 season Reyes was a staple in the midfield and helped the Marauders reach the conference finals against Miami United FC.

In 2014, Reyes spent the summer with the Jacksonville Armada in the NASL, where he played for their development program before heading back up to Rochester for the indoor season.
During the 2014-2015 indoor season, Reyes helped Rochester reach the playoffs and achieve the team’s most successful season to date. Reyes played 22 of 24 games for the Lancers, losing to the Baltimore Blast in the playoff conference finals.

Reyes adds depth and much needed veteran experience to the Tropics defensive line. To see Reyes and the rest of the Tropics team in action this November, call 863-333-5353 and reserve your seats today!

About Florida Tropics SC: Florida Tropics SC is a professional indoor soccer team that will begin play in November of 2016 at the Lakeland Center. The team will play at the highest level of professional indoor soccer in North America. To stay up to date on team information, player signings and special offers, “Like” the teams Facebook page (www.Facebook.com/FLTropics). For more information visit http://www.FLTropics.com. To purchase tickets, call 863-333-5353, or visit Store.FLTropics.com

FLORIDA TROPICS SC JOIN MAJOR ARENA SOCCER LEAGUE

Lakeland, FL – The Tropics front office announced today that they have officially joined the Major Arena Soccer League for the team’s inaugural season. The MASL now consists of teams throughout North America, covering all four corners of the US, as well as teams in Mexico.

The Tropics will join the league as a new expansion team, along with former league members Baltimore Blast, St. Louis Ambush, and the newly rebranded Harrisburg Heat. Baltimore will return as the defending MASL Ron Newman Cup champions after defeating Soles De Sonora in last season’s exciting championship series, which had over 10,000 fans in attendance.

“This is an exciting time for the Tropics and our community. By joining the MASL, we now play teams throughout North America and compete in the top professional arena soccer league in the world. This raises the bar in terms of competition, and certainly makes it more important to bring home a trophy at the end of the season. I have no doubt in my mind that with our coaching staff and players in place, we will be competitive right from the start. We look forward to bringing together this community to rally behind the team, and make the Lakeland Center one of the toughest places to play for away teams in the league,” said Tropics CEO Andrew Haines.

The 2016-17 MASL season will begin in late October, with each team’s 20-game season spanning to early March. A division alignment and schedule is being finalized and will be announced shortly after Labor Day Weekend.

“After an offseason of dialogue regarding how to push arena soccer forward, all parties have found it in their respective best interest, and that of arena soccer as a whole, to maintain one unified league,” said MASL commissioner Joshua Schaub. “We look forward kicking off this upcoming Fall as a true international league.”

For more information about the Tropics’ new league, visit MASLSoccer.com, or follow the league’s Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/MASLsoccer.

About Florida Tropics SC: Florida Tropics SC is a professional indoor soccer team that will begin play in November of 2016 at the Lakeland Center. The team will play at the highest level of professional indoor soccer in North America. To stay up to date on team information, player signings and special offers, “Like” the teams Facebook page (www.Facebook.com/FLTropics). For more information visit http://www.FLTropics.com. To purchase tickets, call 863-333-5353, or visit Store.FLTropics.com

TROPICS STRENGTHEN OWNERSHIP AND FRONT OFFICE WITH ECONOMIDES

Lakeland, FL – Tropics CEO and Owner Andrew Haines announced today that former Rochester Rhinos and USL Executive Chris Economides will be joining the team’s front office and ownership group as Co-Owner and Chief Operating Officer. Economides brings a tremendous amount of experience and knowledge to the Tropics front office. He is very well connected to the soccer industry and serves as an important asset for the Tropics organization.

“I am thrilled to have Chris join our organization. Chris was a major influence in my introduction to the professional soccer landscape. He brings so much to the table in terms of his connections and experience running successful franchises. He has witnessed firsthand how soccer has grown in the United States, and been a part of its development by managing clubs like the Rochester Rhinos and Carolina Railhawks, as well as working in the front office of USL. We are here to grow the Tropics organization into a premier and professional soccer club recognized across the globe. Adding Chris to our team and front office will only help in accomplishing this goal. I am excited to see what the future holds for our organization and the impact we can have on our community,” said CEO Andrew Haines.

Chris Economides has a storied history within the USL (United Soccer League, America’s “AAA” league of the professional soccer landscape). Before his most recent position as Senior Strategic Advisor, he was the Senior Director of USL PRO and the USL First Division. Economides also served as the Senior Director of the Major Indoor Soccer League, all of which were a part of the United Soccer Leagues (overseeing company of all USL assets). Prior to joining USL in October 2008, Economides served as the Chief Operating Officer for the Rochester Rhinos before going on to found the Carolina Railhawks, a former USL First Division team.

Prior to founding the Carolina Railhawks, Chris Economides was instrumental in forming the Rochester Raging Rhinos, a team in the same USL-1 division, which has gained national attention on the soccer scene. In his role as Chief Operating Officer and Vice President/General Manager, Economides was responsible for the management of the club. From off-season scouting and signing of players to representing the team in league matters, he kept busy year-round helping to assemble one of professional soccer’s premier organizations.
Economides helped form the Rhinos in the fall of 1995. They founded the team in the then independent A-League and quickly turned the franchise into a juggernaut in the minor league sports industry. The club was a league-leader in attendance from 1996–2004 and was named one of the “Top Five Minor League Sports Franchises” by Street & Smith’s Sports Business Journal. Their success at the gate was matched by the team’s three league titles (1998, 2000 and 2001) and the 1999 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup title, where they defeated three MLS teams en route to the historic championship. The Rhinos ownership trio was inducted into the USL Hall of Fame in 2005 as builders. Economides was also inducted in the Hall of Fame for the Rochester Rhinos, who still currently play in the USL.

In addition to his soccer duties, Chris also stayed busy during the summer by assuming the same role for the Rochester Rattlers of Major League Lacrosse. Prior to his role with the Rhinos, Economides co-owned the Kansas City Attack of the NPSL from 1991-1993. The Attack captured the NPSL championship in 1992-93, finishing a successful season after defeating the Cleveland Crunch 3-2 in the finals in front of 12,000 fans at Kansas City’s Kemper Arena.

“I am excited to be back working on the club side of the game. I look forward to working with Andrew and Leah, and establishing this organization as a premier club. We look forward to having a lot of very exciting announcements in the near future from the Tropics ownership group. I believe I can bring experience and new connections to the organization, and allow us to a have a freer rain in growing our brand and marketing the Tropics. I think this is a great community and market to grow the sport in. I look forward to a long and fruitful partnership with the Haines,” Said Economides.

The Tropics will be making some major announcements in the upcoming weeks. Be sure to stay tuned to all media feeds in order to stay up to date with these exciting announcements.
About Florida Tropics SC: Florida Tropics SC is a professional indoor soccer team that will begin play in November of 2016 at the Lakeland Center. The team will play at the highest level of professional indoor soccer in North America. To stay up to date on team information, player signings and special offers, “Like” the teams Facebook page (www.Facebook.com/FLTropics). For more information or to purchase tickets, call 863-333-5353 or visit http://www.FLTropics.com.

TROPICS CEO ANDREW HAINES NOMINATED FOR POLK COUTY AWARD

Lakeland, FL – The annual Polk Emerging Leaders Award Ceremony was held yesterday at the Bartow Civic Center. Tropics CEO and Owner Andrew Haines received a nomination for the award after being in the community for less then a year. Haines now serves on two non-profit boards, Junior Achievement and Habitat for Humanity, and has participated in over 30 community events since the Tropics were announced.

“It is an honor to be nominated for this prestigious award. Each and every one of the nominees is a leader within the community, and to be viewed among one of them is truly an honor. It is my goal to give everything I can back to this community. I am very thankful to be considered for this award, and look forward to what our organization can accomplish in continuing to build the sense of community throughout Polk County”.

Amongst Haines were 15 other nominees from companies across the county, all of which have proven to be leaders amongst their business and community. The full list of nominees included the following:

Amy Palmer – City of Auburndale
Andrew Haines – Florida Tropic SC & Central Florida Sports Ventures
Andy McEntire – Indie Atlantic Films
Betsy Cleveland – Haines City Area Chamber of Commerce
Brandie Gogel – Polk County School Board
Billie Hutto – P & J’s Recreation
Cari Herrington – All About Aging, LLC
Chad Tagtow – Citizens Bank & Trust
Clifford Parody – Journalist
Clint Edwards – Tom Edwards Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram
Danielle Baker – GEICO Insurance
Derek Oxford – CPS Investment Advisors
Erica Lupercio – Posto 9
Greta Dupuy – Publix Super Markets, Inc.
Hollie Hill – Perfect Form Wellness
Jorge Giraldo – Senior Helpers
Jude Dauphin – Spring Lake Rehabilitation Center
Kara Simm – MAXHome Inspections
Kathryn Bevilacqua – Madden Brand Agency
Kristen Hathcock – Denison Middle School
Lyndsey Ladewig – Gadd Case & Associates
Merissa Green – City of Auburndale
Michael Ehlenbeck – CPS Investment Advisors
Ronald Shell – Citrus Center Boys and Girls Club
Sarah Petty – Grace Manor Suites of Lakeland
Sarah Powers – Top Buttons, Inc.
Sha’Kia Young – Data B.I.T.S LLC
Stacy Walsh – YMCA of West Central Florida
Stuart McCutcheon – Haines City Fire Department
Tiffani Gozdur – Citizens Bank & Trust

Congratulations to the award nominees and recipients!

About Florida Tropics SC: Florida Tropics SC is a professional indoor soccer team that will begin play in November of 2016 at the Lakeland Center. The team will play at the highest level of professional indoor soccer in North America. To stay up to date on team information, player signings and special offers, “Like” the teams Facebook page (www.Facebook.com/FLTropics). For more information or to purchase tickets, call 863-333-5353 or visit Store.FLTropics.com.

TROPICS PARTNER WITH KEISER UNIVERSITY – LAKELAND

Lakeland, FL – The Tropics have partnered with Keiser University in hopes of providing students with an opportunity to gain experience in the sports industry. Keiser University’s Lakeland campus currently offers programs such as Exercise Science, Sports Medicine, Physical Therapy Assistant, Integrated Marketing and Communications, as well as Graphic Arts and Design, all of which can be applied to the sports industry. The Tropics will look to hire students majoring in these fields to give them experience working with a professional sports team prior to and after graduation.
Keiser University is a private, not-for-profit university serving nearly 20,000 students pursuing doctoral through associate degrees. Keiser University is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award certificates and degrees at the associate, baccalaureate, masters, and doctoral levels. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Keiser University.
“With this partnership, it is our goal to show students what it is like to work in the sports industry, and gain hands on experience in their fields of interest. We hope to grow this partnership in the future and continue to provide internship and full-time employment opportunities for students before and after graduation. Other sports teams throughout the country are building similar programs with universities, so we are very excited to announce this partnership and get started working with the students of Keiser University,” said General Manager, Andrew Ross.
The Tropics will offer special internship and job opportunities to Keiser students who are interested in pursuing a career in the sports industry. The five majors listed above will be their main focus for recruitment, but all students are welcome to apply.
“Keiser University – Lakeland offers a variety of degrees in areas of allied health, business, and technology, many of which are directly applicable to the staffing needs of the Florida Tropics and the sporting industry as a whole. We look forward to a productive partnership that will enable our students to gain valuable internship experience, while also engaging in this exciting new community sports venture,” said Campus President Rebecca McDonnell.
For more information on the opportunities Keiser University has to offer, visit KeiserUniversity.com or call 863-682-6020.
Florida Tropics SC is a professional indoor soccer team that will begin play in November of 2016 at the Lakeland Center. The team will play at the highest level of professional indoor soccer in North America. To stay up to date on team information, player signings and special offers, “Like” the teams Facebook page (www.Facebook.com/FLTropics). For more information or to purchase tickets, visit Store.FLTropics.com Andrew G. Haines, Andrew Haines