Former Sidekicks midfielder Julio Varela signs two-year free agent deal with Tropics

by Brian Ackley

LAKELAND, Fla. –  Former Dallas Sidekicks midfielder Julio Varela has signed a two-year deal to join the Florida Tropics as it kicks off its seventh season in the Major Arena Soccer League later this fall.

Varela was the Sidekicks third-leading scorer last season, and will be starting his fourth season of MASL play in 2022-23, catching the eye of Tropics Coach Clay Roberts when Dallas made a late season run to the league playoffs, where they pushed the Kansas City Comets to a knockout game before falling.

“In our recruitment of talent over the past few years , we’ve had this good balance of veterans and up and coming young players. He’s that. I love his skill set. He’ll be a second forward, midfielder for us. But his technical ability, his one v. one, his creativity is something that is desirable, as is his overall energy for the game.”

In all, Varela has appeared in 39 career regular season and playoff games, collecting 23 goals and adding 16 assists. He began his MASL carrer with the Turlock Express, before playing for the Sidekicks for the last two years. He played both midfield and defense for Dallas.

A native of Watsonville, California, he played collegiately two years for Hartnell College, where he started 34 games in two seasons, and one year for Holy Names University and one season with Cal State Monterrey. He has also played with the Santa Cruz Breakers of USL 2.

He has been invited this summer for a tryout with the U.S. Soccer Men’s National Futsal team, in preparation of the next FIFA World Cup in 2024. Tropics forward Zach Reget also was invited to tryouts this summer, after earning a roster spot for the 2021 U.S. National Futsal team which participated in World Cup play in Lithuania, the ninth ever futsal World Cup event.

The Tropics – who advanced for the first-time in team history to the MASL championship finals last spring – will start their seventh season in the league this fall at the RP Funding Center in Lakeland. For more information, visit