Alves gets the call from Brazil in World Minifootball Cup qualifying tournament

by Brian Ackley

Florida Tropics midfielder Rafael Alves has been called up by Brazil to play for that country in the  World Minifootball Football Pan American Memorial Minifootball Cup which runs through June 12 in in Guatemala.

The event features nine-teams, including the United States, seven of which will qualify based on this tournaments results for the 2019 WMF World Cup.

Alves actually only appeared in one game last season for the Tropics, after getting hurt in the pre-season. An expected big contributor, Alves showed his skills with a goal in his only half of play in January in a home win against the Kansas City Comets. Another injury suffered in that game ended his season, but Coach Clay Roberts is expecting him back for the 2018-19 campaign which starts in December.

“Fans got just a quick glimpse of how talented Rafa is, and how big a part of last year's team we were hoping he could be,” Roberts said. “Injuries are a part of the game, but we saw what an impact he can have both offensively and defensively against the Comets. We are looking forward to Rafa having a big year coming up for us and being a key player in 2018-19.”

Another MASL player, goaltender Rainer Hauss, will join Alves on the Brazilian side. Hauss recently signed with the Orlando SeaWolves, who will start play in the Major Arena Soccer League this winter, and will instantly be the Tropics top rivals. Hauss played last season for the Cedar Rapid Rampage.

Alves came to the Tropics four strong years in the North American Soccer League, and most recently as a defender for Juventude, a second-division (Serie B) club in Brazil which has also played in past years in Serie A, the country's top league.

He appeared in 67 NASL games from 2013-2016, including 35 for the Fort Lauderdale Strikers and 32 for the Ottawa Fury. His best offensive season came in 2015 with Ottawa where he had four goals and two assists. He also earned Player of the Week honors that season as the Fury won the NASL fall championship.

Eleven Sports is scheduled to telecast the Pan American Cup Games, and is found at Direct TV Channel 623.

The Florida Tropics will start their third season in the MASL this December with a 24-game regular season schedule. For more information, including how to obtain season tickets, go to