Tropics FanFest -- including exhibition game -- set this Sunday at RP Funding Center

by Brian Ackley

LAKELAND,, Fla. -- Florida Tropics fans will get a chance to get a first, free look at the 2022-23 team when the franchise hosts its annual FanFest at the RP Funding Center in Lakeland on Sunday, Dec. 4.

Doors will open at 3 p.m. Concessions will be available, along with Tropics merchandise. Fans interested in season tickets can pick out seats for the team's 12 home games.

Florida reached the Major Arena Soccer League championships last spring, but fell in two games to the San Diego Sockers. It is the seventh season of pro indoor soccer at the RP Funding Center. The Tropics have won more regular season games over the past three years than any team in the MASL.

The highlight of the afternoon will be a 4 p.m. exhibition game against Atletico Orlando FC, who in August finished as Florida state runners-up in the United Premier Soccer League. It will be fans' first opportunity to welcome newcomers like Vini Dantas and Julio Varela, along with welcoming back long-time Tropic stars like Victor Parreiras, Ricardo Carvalho, Drew Ruggles and Chad Vandegriffe. 

Admission and parking is free.

"We've had a great two-weeks of training camp so far. We've been very focused and know we'll need to come out of the gate strong with four conference games, including three against Baltimore who is always among the best teams in the league," Coach Clay Roberts said. "It will be really beneficial for us to match up against such a talented team as Atletico Orlando to prepare for December which shapes up as a very important month for us."

The Tropics will open their 2022-23 regular season on Saturday, Dec. 10 in Baltimore, before returning to Lakeland for their home opener on Saturday, Dec. 17 vs. Utica City FC. It is the first of four home games during the holiday period, with games Dec. 21 and 23 against the rival Baltimore Blast and Dec. 30 against the Chihuahua Savage.