Navarette saves the day as Tropics advance to UPSL Round of 16 national playoff game

by Brian Ackley

AUBURNDALE -- Goalkeeper Jorge Navarette has been with the Florida Tropics virtually since the franchise's inception for the 2016-17 Major Arena Soccer League season.

A star at nearby Plant High School, and even closer Southeastern University, the affable Navarette has largely been relegated to back-up duty all these years.

But 2021 has been different. Navarette earned the starting netminding job for the United Premier Soccer League Tropics earlier this spring, and he never shined as brightly as he did Saturday night at the Lake Myrtle Sports Complex, leading Florida to a seemingly comfortable 3-0 second half lead.

However, the visiting GOSA Spurs refused to fold, and spent the last 20 minutes of the game peppering the Tropics goal with all kinds of shots. Despite two that found the back of the net, Navarette had at least a half-dozen other spectacular saves, several from point-blank range, to allow Florida to advance the the UPSL's Round of 16 next weekend with a 3-2 win.

Julian Hall converted a pretty passing play from Nico Riveros to Melvin Boateng to Hall for a 1-0 lead at intermission. And when Will Eyang, who came into the weekend tied for second among all scorers in the league, buried a penalty kick, and Boateng scored on a pretty individual effort a few minutes after that, it was enough to advance.

The Tropics will meae Miami Beach FC who defeated the Port St. Lucie based CMA Tritons in penalty kicks over the weekend. A time and location for that match will be announced shortly, a game that is for the de facto Florida state championship. The Tropics and Miami Beach are the only two of 28 Florida based teams in the UPSL that remain alive for a national title, which will be decided August 6 and 8 in Los Angeles.

The winner of the Tropics matchup against Miami Beach will take on the winner of the Bowling Green (Ky.) FC and Kalonji Pro-Profile (suburban Atlanta) matchup in  a national quarterfinals game on July 24 in Augusta, Ga. For the latest in up to date information, visit or any of the team's social media platforms.