Three Florida Tropics Players set to Join PDL Team

by Dakota Brian Hill

LAKELAND, Fla. – Three players of the MASL’s Florida Tropics are prepared to continue their great play as they suit up for the PDL’s Lakeland Tropics this summer. Ricardo Diegues, Lucas Coutinho, and Gerritson Craane have reached an agreement with the Lakeland Tropics to remain in Lakeland for the summer and help the Tropics build on a successful inaugural PDL season.

Attacker Ricardo Diegues, who played in all but one PDL game last season, returns to the Lakeland Tropics as last season’s leading scorer after netting ten goals while also adding two assists. Diegues will look to stay in great form after a strong indoor campaign that saw him score 28 goals and assisting on 16 others.

“We are really excited about having Ricardo back for the summer,” said Lakeland Tropics Head Coach Eoghan Conlon, “He is familiar with our system already and will be a huge asset on and off the field as we bring in some of the best college talent in the nation- he will definitely be able to help with that transition for our new players.”

One of two indoor players making their outdoor debut for the Tropics is Midfielder Lucas Coutinho. Coutinho, who excelled with the NASL’s New York Cosmos last season, will add a spark to the team as one of the most promising players in the southeast. In his first indoor season, Coutinho was voted as the teams Rookie of the Year after netting nine goals and adding five assists.

Also joining the outdoor team is Defender Gerritson Craane. Craane joined the Tropics’ indoor team towards the end of their season and has shown “great progress” in the development of his skills and technique according to Conlon. A 2016 graduate of Southeastern University, Craane tallied 24 career goals for the Fire and also played meaningful minutes for the PDL’s Ocala Stampede.

Tropics General Manager Andrew Ross commented, “Having Lucas and Gerritson join the outdoor team this summer is huge. Lucas had multiple offers to play elsewhere, but decided to stay with us to continue building on last year’s success and help maximize this team’s future. Plus these three guys [Diegues, Coutinho, and Craane] have played together indoors, so they already have some chemistry together. ”

The Lakeland Tropics will begin their season at home in Bryant Stadium on May 12,  2018 against the Next Academy Palm Beach Suns at 7:00pm. For tickets or information fans can call 863-240-0101 or visit our website at

The Lakeland Tropics are part of the seven-team PDL Southeastern Division. All seven teams are Florida based, and include The Villages SC, Weston FC, Next Academy Suns FC, FC Miami City, IMG Academy, North County United, and SIMA Aguilas. The Tropics finished third in the Southeast Division in their inaugural season, after finishing with nine wins, three losses, and two ties. After finishing thirteenth overall across the league, the Tropics received an invite to play in the 2018 U.S. Open Cup earlier this year.