Tropics Continue to Bolster Roster with Signing of MASL Championship Defender Drew Ruggles

by Brian Ackley

LAKELAND, Fla – The Florida Tropics continue their roster overhaul with the signing of  Drew Ruggles, who this spring helped lead the Milwaukee Wave to the Major Arena Soccer League championship.  Per league and club policy, no additional details about the deals will be released.

Ruggles, a defender with an offensive flair as well, appeared in all 24 regular season games for Milwaukee, who defeated Monterrey 5-2 in the MASL championship game. He scored 11 goals and added eight assists during the 2018-regular season when the Wave went 21-3.

In his last three seasons with the Wave, the North Carolina native has 25 goals and 18 assists to go along with 44 blocks. He has been especially impressive in his 13 playoff games in that same period, with seven goals and four assists.

“My time in Milwaukee was second to none. I have been fortunate enough to play for one of the best organizations for the last four years and to top it off with a championship is about as fulfilling as this game gets. The lessons I've learned on and off the field will stay with me forever as will the friends I've made through this beautiful game and my time in Milwaukee,” Ruggles said. “I came to Milwaukee with a goal in mind and now that it's been accomplished I'm eager for a new challenge and a fresh start.”

He started his professional indoor career with the Baltimore Blast in 2014-15, before spending the last five years in Milwaukee. In total, he has appeared in 81 MASL games with 30 goals and 23 assists.

“I'm really excited about the upcoming season. Coach Clay and the guys in Lakeland have been grinding to put together a real championship contending team. To be part of this project means a lot to me and I look forward to giving my all on the field to make this a reality. I believe that a winning mentality and results go hand in hand,” Ruggles added. “Hard work is in the books for next season but I've never been one to shy away from a challenge. I'm looking forward to warmer weather and bringing the Lakeland area some hardware. Let's get Tropical!”

“Drew is a great addition to our back line. Not only is he a top defender, but he's an instinctive offensive threat and isn't afraid to jump into the attack when the opportunity is there,” Tropics Coach Clay Roberts said. “Teams all over the league are looking for defenders like that. And his championship experience will be a huge positive for our improved roster as well.”

The Tropics have already added two of the MASL's top nine scorers as free agents signees so far this spring in Gordy Gurson (fifth in goals, fourth overall in points) and Ricardo Caravalho (ninth in goals), and also re-signed fan favorites Victor Parreiras, Anthony Arico and Antonio Manfut to multi-year deals. The league's free agency period ends May 30th.

The Florida Tropics will start their fourth season in the Major Arena Soccer League late this fall at the RP Funding Center in Lakeland. For more information, visit