Tropics add reserve team for outdoor UPSL D2 and future indoor friendlies

by Andrew Ross

LAKELAND, Fla. – The Florida Tropics SC will debut a new developmental club this spring to help expand the talent pool to aid in the pursuit of additional indoor and outdoor soccer championships.

The Florida Tropics SC reserve team – which will be known as Tropics 2 – will play in the United Premier Soccer League's Division II, and also plans to host indoor soccer friendlies at the RP Funding Center next winter, with a goal of eventually playing in MASL 2 as that league continues to expand in coming seasons.

The Tropics won the 2019 UPSL outdoor championship last July in Texas, and currently are in first place in the Major Arena Soccer League's Eastern Conference.

“This is an important step forward for our organization to provide a professional environment for our own youth and local players to continue to develop and thrive under the Tropics Club umbrella,” General Manager Andrew Ross said. “We've come to understand just how critical it is to develop your own pipeline of talent, so it's exciting for us to launch this new team and watch our roster develop.”

Alex Flores, who recently joined the Tropics as an assistant coach for the MASL team, will serve as the Tropics 2 head coach.

As team captain and MVP for three years, Flores was an All-American soccer player at Robert Morris University, where they won national titles in both 2006 and 2007. He played professionally at the Division 1 level in Honduras, outdoors for the Northern Illinois Rebels of the AISA, and indoors for the Chicago Mustangs and Waukegan Lightning FC in the PASL. He served as an assistant coach for the MASL Orlando SeaWolves during the 2018-19 season, and as head coach for Orlando for a few games earlier this season before joining the Tropics organization.

“The Tropics have proven themselves to be the premier soccer organization in Central Florida, committed to putting great teams on the field and in the community,” Flores said. “It is a privilege for me to be a part of a bigger vision that uses soccer to make Polk County a place players and fans want to be.”

The team will play in the UPSL's Division II's Southeastern Conference, made up of three different divisions in Florida. The Tropics 2 will play in the Central Division, along with 14 other teams, many of which played the Tropics last season including GOSA, Sporting Orlando, Macca Ballers and the Jacksonville Armada.

Home games will be played at the Northeast Regional Sports Complex in Davenport. A complete 2020 outdoor schedule will be announced shortly.