Tag Archives: Soccer

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.

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TROPICS CLOSE IN ON FINAL INAUGURAL SEASON ROSTER WITH TWO MORE SIGNING

Lakeland, FL – The Tropics are finalizing their inaugural season roster with the announcement of two more players. Armando Tello and Kevin Rockwell-Ashton will join the additional 18 players currently signed to the Tropics leading up to the home opener on November 11th vs. San Diego.
Armando Tello brings nearly 10 years of professional indoor soccer experience to the Tropics. While born in Chicago, Tello has direct routes from Puerto Rico, as well as heritage from Mexico, and Italy. Tello is the first Puerto Rican to play professional indoor soccer, and hopes to embrace the Puerto Rican community here in Central Florida.

Tello served a short tenure with the Puerto Rican national team, and has played with professional indoor soccer franchises throughout North America. Tello started his career as a professional with the Chicago Storm reserves, before transferring to the Chicago Mustangs.

After spending a few years playing in Chicago, Tello moved on to play for the Detroit Waza Flo in the 2013/14 season, and then was traded to the Seattle Impact (known today as the Tacoma Stars). Prior to joining the Tropics, Tello played in Cedar Rapids for the Rampage.

“Tello is a very skillful player who can play any position. He has excellent technique and skill on the ball, and has proven he can adapt immediately to any tactical change. He brings years of experience playing at the highest level of professional arena soccer, and has a natural tendency to both score goals, and defend them. We are excited to see him take the field during pre-season, and then on November 11th”, said Tropics Owner Andrew Haines.

Kevin Rockwell-Ashton is originally from Fort Wayne, Indiana, but has recently moved to Orlando Florida. Kevin started getting noticed in Orlando when he began playing in the Central Florida Soccer League, where he has been the leagues top scorer over the past 3 seasons with over 30 goals. His play in the CFSL earned him the opportunity to play for Kraze United in the NPSL for the past two seasons.

Kevin has previously played in Mexico with Puebla F.C., and in Argentina for Newell’s Old Boys U-18 team. Kevin brings speed and size to the Tropics offense, and the opportunity to develop into one of the leagues leading goal scorers.

“I believe Kevin’s international experience will help him achieve his goals and become a feared offensive threat. He demonstrates great talent with the ability to find the back of the net. I believe that he will develop well with our veteran forwards and be a vital asset to the future of this organization”, said Haines.

The Tropics will take the field in their inaugural season home opener on November 11th at 7:35pm. To purchase tickets, call the teams front office at 863-333-5353. For more information, visit http://www.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 in the Major Arena Soccer League, which is 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
Player contracts are pending league approval

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

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

Tropics SC Add Three More International Players to Roster

Lakeland, FL- Florida Tropics SC CEO and Owner Andrew Haines has announced the signing of three new players this morning. Marco Rodriguez, Paulo Meneses and Lucas Pinto will be joining the Tropics for their upcoming inaugural season.

Marco Rodriguez, 24, was born in Canada but has deep parental ties to Argentina. Rodriguez began playing professional soccer in 2009 for Atheltico Platense in the Argentina second division. He played there until 2013, which is when he made the move to play in Uruguay for Defensor Sporting Club. After a few years away from home, in 2014 he returned to Canada to play for Major League Soccer’s Toronto FC’s USL side. Since then, Rodriguez has been playing in the Chinese Professional League for Windsor Arch Ka I. He also has had the honor of winning the Canadian Futsal Championship in 2016. Rodriguez is a player who will bring both pace and athleticism to the Tropics midfield.

Paulo Roberto Raison de Meneses was born in 1995 in Itajaí, Santa Catarina Brazil. Meneses has experience in the Brazilian minor league, playing with Clube Náutico Marcilio Dias. After playing there for three consecutive years, he moved on to Camboriú Futebol Clube in 2013, which plays in the highest competition of soccer in the state of Santa Catarina in Brazil. Meneses’ ability to play in different positions at both midfield and defense will give Head Coach Clay Roberts even more depth to both lines.

Lucas Teixeira Andrade Pinto, 30, was also born in Brazil. Lucas began playing futsal at the age of 16 and was a member of Minas Tênis Clube. He then played for Ulbra, Malwee Copagril and most recently this past season, Keima Futsal. Lucas has also spent time with the Brazilian National Futsal team and played alongside the likes of Manoel Tobias, Falcão and Gadeia. Throughout his illustrious career, he has won all possible titles in Brazil, including the National League in 2010. He has won the Super League in 2008 and 2010, as well as winning the Brazilian Cup in 2012. He has won titles in international play across South America with the Brazilian National Futsal team. He also won five State Championships in 2005, 2006, 2012, 2013 and 2014. Measuring in at 5’ 8” and weighing 155 pounds, we expect Lucas to bring his veteran presence and experience to help this young team stay focused and win.

The Tropics will be announcing more additions to the team’s roster in the near future. Come see Rodriguez, Meneses and Lucas take the field this upcoming November! Season Tickets and information are currently available by calling (863)-333-5353 or visiting http://store.fltropics.com.

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 FLTropics.com.