Tag Archives: Clay Roberts

SEASON PREVIEW: EXPANSION STATUS DOESN’T TEMPER EXPECTATIONS

Head Coach Clay Roberts knows the Florida Tropics SC will have challenges as an expansion team in an ever-improving Major Arena Soccer League, but that doesn’t diminish the expectations for the 2016-17 season which starts Friday night, Nov. 11, at the Lakeland Center against the San Diego Sockers.

“Our owner, myself, we want to win,” Roberts says matter of factly. “We’ve worked hard to put together the best roster we could. Our expectation is to win. The MASL is extremely strong. The level of the league has gotten higher and higher, so there’s no easy game for anybody. We’re going to make some youthful mistakes Friday night, we’re going to make some mistakes next week. But I will say by the time we get into the second and third games in the division, we’re going to be as sharp as anybody in the league.”

Roberts, who was a member of the 2007-08 MISL champion Philadelphia Kixx and is the head coach at nearby Southeastern University, said the roster is sprinkled with both veterans and talented youngsters, which has been training for several weeks now, including practices all week at the Lakeland Center

He believes the Tropics will be able to score goals, including the first line which includes Freddy Moojen, who had 41 goals two seasons ago for the Dallas Sidekicks and Ricardo Diegues, who netted 64 goals in 57 college games at UT-Brownsville. Indoors, in 10 games with the MASL Brownsville Barracudas, he had 10 goals and five assists. Forward Carlos Araujo rounds out the top line.

“We have a lot of individual talent, very high level, skilled players,” Roberts noted. “That’s always nice indoor, because it’s a very skillful game. We have attacking players that are going to be able to produce goals. The way we re looking to play is a dynamic, attacking style.”

Moojen will play a dual role as an assistant coach, and is a particularly important building block.

“Freddy is a key piece,” Robers said. “His experience and knowledge is going to help us out. He knows he has to play a bigger role than just a player..”

Defensively, Roberts will look to a top pairing of Anthoy Arico, a starting defender last year for the St. Louis Ambush, and Chicago native Armando Tello, who starts his third season of MASL play.

“The defensive responsibilities are something that’s going to be learned here in the first month of our season. With so many new players to the indoor game, we’ll be relying on our veteran indoor guys to lead the way and communicate well because it’s such different game when you’re transitioning from an outdoor player to an indoor player,” Roberts said. “It won’t be a season-long weakness, just something that we have to work through in the first few games.”

Goaltender Pitor Sliwa will be the backline general, after lowering his goals against average to 5.92 last year with the Ambush, He posted a 10.62 GAA two years ago with Seattle.

“The goalkeeper is so important. He’s a big piece in what we’ll be able to do this year. His knowledge of the game, his communication, we’re going to rely on that. He’s going to have to make the big saves, as any indoor keeper does,” Roberts added.

The Nov. 11 game marks the debut of the Tropics franchise for owner Andrew Haines, who for the last three years owned the St. Louis Ambush. The team averaged more than 5,600 fans a game for that period.

The Tropics will play 10 games at home this season, but it is not the first time professional indoor soccer has been played in the arena they will call home.

Interestingly, some the games greatest stars have played on the Lakeland Center turf, when the North American Soccer League Tampa Bay Rowdies played three regular season games of their indoor season there in early 1984, including a marquee matchup against the New York Cosmos. Steve Zungul, the “Lord of all Indoors”, suited up for the Golden Bay Earthquakes in one of the matches, as did the legendary Tatu who scored four goals for the Rowdies in their 12-6 win over the Cosmos.

All 20 games will be broadcast live online, and can be accessed through the team’s website at http://www.fltropics.com. Tickets for all home games are also available online, or by calling 863-333-5353.

The Tropics will play in the Eastern Division of the Eastern Conference of the 17-team MASL. Division rivals will include the defending league champion Baltimore Blast, Harrisburg Heat and Syracuse Silver Knights. Eleven games will come against divisional foes, and the schedule also features such league heavyweights as the San Diego Sockers, St. Louis Ambush, Kansas City Comets and Dallas Sidekicks.

Florida Tropics SC Announce Three Player Signings for Inaugural Season

Lakeland Florida – Florida Tropics SC announced their first three player signings today. The signings included Goalkeeper Piotr Sliwa, Midfielders Anthony Arico, as well as veteran striker Freddy Moojen (who will fill the roll as player coach).

Sliwa, Arico, and Moojen all have professional indoor soccer experience, while Garcia will join the team as a rookie. “We are excited to finally announce our first player signings. I have personally worked with 3 of the 4 players, and know the high level or professionalism they bring both on and off the field. They will serve as a core for the organization, and we expect to see many top plays from this group during the team’s inaugural season. We can’t wait to see them take the field in November” said CEO and Owner, Andrew Haines.

Sliwa began his career in professional indoor soccer in 2014 while playing for the Seattle Impact and Ontario Fury. The Debica, Poland native moved to the United States when he was 10 years old. During his youth, Sliwa was a member of the A.A.C. Eagles, which is one of the oldest and most successful Polish club teams outside of Poland. He was a member of a national championship squad and three national runner-up teams. Sliwa played at Taft High School in Chicago, where he earned all-state honors his senior year.  While at Dominican University in River Forest, Illinois, Sliwa was a four-year starter, earning all-conference honors all four years and was an all-American selection his senior year. Academically, he earned a degree in business, concentrating on finance and management. Sliwa served as the Ambush goalkeeper during the 2015-16 season before making the move to Florida. He also has coaching experience at the both the collegiate and youth level.

Anthony Arico also joins the team after two seasons of professional indoor soccer play with the Ambush and Milwaukee Wave. Anthony Arico played High School soccer at Crystal Lake High School in Crystal Lake, Illinois, before moving to Charlotte, North Carolina, where he played at Charlotte Catholic High School. At Crystal Lake, he was the all-time leading scorer. At Charlotte Catholic, he earned All-Conference honors in his sophomore through senior seasons. Arico spent his collegiate career at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida. During his time at Eckerd, Arico scored goals and recorded assists in all four years, finishing his senior year with four goals and seven assists. Arico currently plays for the Tampa Bay Rowdies NPSL side, as a way to stay in shape at a high level of competition before joining the Tropics squad for the inaugural season.

Last but certainly not least, Freddy Moojen. Frederico Augusto Pieruccini Moojenis is a native of Balneário Camboriú, Brazil, where he played for Coritiba Football Club’s youth team. He played collegiate soccer at Lincoln Memorial University in Tennessee and Clemson University in South Carolina. At LMU, he was a two-time Gulf South Conference Player of the Year and a 2005 NCAA Division II third team All American.

In 2004, Moojen played for the Cocoa Expos in the Premier Development League (USL). He returned to the Expos in 2005, scoring 18 goals and was tied as the league’s leading scorer. In 2006, Moojen played for Augusta FireBall, where he earned 2006 PDL (USL) MVP honors. He has also played professionally with the Montreal Impact (USL First Division), Minnesota Thunder (USL First Division), and several other teams.

Freddy Moojen – Florida Tropics Moojen began his professional indoor soccer career with the New Jersey Ironmen in 2007, where his 22 goals and seven assists earned him the Major Indoor Soccer League’s 2007-08 Rookie of the Year award.

In 2013, Moojen was granted Canadian citizenship. He represented his adopted country as captain of Canada’s WMF Arena Soccer World Cup team. Moojen scored seven goals in three games against Russia, Brazil and Serbia.

The 2015-16 season was Freddy Moojen’s eighth in professional indoor soccer. While playing with the St. Louis Ambush the past 2015-2016 season, Moojen added the title of Assistant Coach to his resume.  His previous teams include the New Jersey Ironmen, Chicago Storm, Omaha Vipers, Wichita Wings, Baltimore Blast and Dallas Sidekicks. In his last season for the Sidekicks, Moojen led the team in goals (39), points (52), game-winning goals (4), and was tied for second in assists (13). He was fifth in the league in goals scored and eighth in points. He added two goals in two playoff games with Dallas.

Moojen has recently been training with the Canadian Men’s National Futsal team for their appearances in CONCACAF and the Futsal World. Moojen will take on the Player/Assistant Coach role for the Tropics in their inaugural season, and will look to continue his streak of winning games and scoring goals!

“I think the connection between our players and our community is going to be fantastic. The high level of energy and experience these guys bring will get us off to a great start, and gives us a core of players to build around. I look forward to working with this group both on and off the field” said Tropics Head Coach, Clay Roberts.

The community will get to see these guys take the field in November. For more information on the Tropics, and to stay up to date on player signings, visit http://www.FLTropics.com and sign up for their mailing list today!

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. The team is owned and operated by Central Florida Sports Ventures, LLC. For more information on the club, partnership opportunities, and tickets, call 863-333-5353 or visit FLTropics.com.