Ruggles named First Team All Major Arena Soccer League defender

by Brian Ackley

LAKELAND, Fla. – Florida Tropics  defender Drew Ruggles as been named a Major Arena Soccer League First Team all-star, the league has announced. He becomes to the first Tropics player to ever earn first-team honors.

Signed as a free agent last summer after winning the MASL championship with the Milwaukee Wave, Ruggles led the top defensive unit in the entire league – which gave up a MASL low 86 goals this past season – while at the same time setting a career high in goals with 14.

“It’s hard to fully appreciate how much he meant to our success this season,” said Coach Clay Roberts, who himself is in the running for MASL Coach-of-the-Year honors. “His composure and confidence at both ends of the floor are invaluable, both shutting down other teams  scorers and leading counter-attacks and being a key contributor to our man up unit that led to numerous goals and scoring chances. He absolutely deserves this honor.”

His 21 total points was also a career best, to go along with 22 blocked shots which was second-best on the Tropics, who went 18-3 in the 2019-20 regular season to earn its first Eastern Conference championship. The remainder of the regular season was canceled because of the national Coronavirus outbreak. The team is expected to start its fifth season in the MASL late this fall.   

Earlier, the team’s leading scorer Ricardo Carvalho , was named All MASL Third Team, while forward Victor Parreiras and goalkeeper Hugo Silva earned  Second Team recognition.

Each active MASL player, head coach, and one member of each team front office were invited to submit one ballot. Voting was based on the regular season performance.

Calculating the 1st, 2nd and 3rd All-MASL Teams are based off a point system. Players receive three points for a 1st team vote, two points for 2nd team, and one point for a 3rd team vote. The highest number of points is then calculated to determine three forward/midfielders in each team, then two defenders, and one goalkeeper.

In case of a tie in points, it is determined by who had more 1st team votes, then 2nd team. The All-Rookie Team is selected by highest total votes by position (F, M/F, D, GK). Individual major awards are based on highest number of total votes. Tie breakers go to player with the most all league points or it can be determined a tie. 

The remaining 2019-2020 MASL awards schedule of announcements:

Tuesday April 14 - Rookie of The Year Award and Coach of the Year nominees.

Wed April 15 - Coach of the Year Award and Goalkeeper of Year nominees.

Thursday April 16 - Goalkeeper of the Year Award and Defender of the Year nominees.

Friday April 17 - Defender of the Year Award and MVP nominees.

Saturday April 18 - MVP award.