Florida's Chad Vandegriffe named Major Arena Soccer League Defender of Year

by Brian Ackley

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Another Florida Tropics player has added a significant piece of hardware to their trophy case.

Chad Vandegriffe, who signed as a free agent with the Lakeland-based Major Arena Soccer League team prior to the 2019-20 season, has been named the league's defender of the year in a vote of league broadcasters, media members and front office personnel.

The former Milwaukee Wave star joins another Wave player who signed with Florida that same year to win the award. Drew Ruggles was the MASL Defender of the Year in 2019-20. Ruggles wasl also a finalist this year as the Tropics have advanced all the way to the Ron Newman Cup championship round against the San Diego Sockers.

Vandegriffe, 33, a native of St. Louis , had a career-high 54 blocked shots this past season, eclipsing the previous high mark of 36 blocks when he broke into the league in 2014-15 with the St. Louis Ambush. He has 218 blocks in 163 career regular season games.

He also tied for second most goals in a season in his career with five this past year. He had six goals the year prior to joining the Wave where he won an MASL title.

"Chad is the bedrock on which our defense has been built," Coach Clay Roberts said. "He is smart, dedicated, talented and the kind of player that every coach wants to have on a roster. He had a fantastic year, and is richily deserving of the honor."