Alencar Ventura Junior back for another season with Tropics on new deal
LAKELAND, Fla. -- Forward Alencar Ventura Junior will be re-joining the Florida Tropics for the 2022-23 Major Arena Soccer League season, signing a two-year deal with the team who will play its seventh season starting late this fall.
Junior – who goes by the nickname Juninho -- joined the Tropics last January in a trade with Utica which also brought all-star forward Ricardo Diegues back to the Tropics in a four-player deal. He was a free-agent after the completion of the 2021-22 MASL season which saw the Tropics advance all the way to the league championship series. Per team and league policy, no further contract details are being released.
A member of the 2021 U.S National Futsal team, Ventura Junior played sparingly for Utica, and as such, had made other soccer commitments during the last MASL season, which limited his availability once he came to the Tropics. Nonetheless he was impressive, scoring three goals in five games, and adding a goal in the only playoff game for which he was available for selection.
In just 11 career MASL games the Brazilian native has nine goals – including four goals in just three games for Utica in 2019-20 -- having also dressed briefly for the Turlock Express and Cedar Rapids Rampage. Florida Head Coach Clay Roberts said that with the new contract in place, “Juninho” will be available to the Tropics on a much more regular basis in 2022-23.
“He was a great addition for us last year. In the games he was available to us, he made an immediate impact,” Roberts said. “We saw exactly the kind of player he can be for us. And now, to be available from day one, his contributions to our team can be quite significant this year. He’s really happy to be here and committed to us.”
He can suit up as both a forward or midfielder, which gives the Tropics more game day flexibility as they look to defend their Eastern Division championship, Roberts said.
“He’s got a visual understanding of the game which gives him a pretty in depth picture of what he’s trying to do,” Roberts said. “And his abilities match those opportunities. He can do some great things.”
The Tropics will announce a 2022-23 schedule in the next few weeks, with season tickets now on sale. The 24-game schedule will include a dozen home games at the RP Funding Center in Lakeland. Call 863-240-0101 for more information, or visit www.fltropics.com.