Tropics open training camp with two-a-days, but just one goal in mind
The Florida Tropics SC are opening camp this week with two-a-day training sessions but just one goal in mind.
The team is spending two hours each morning at XL Soccer World in Orlando on the indoor pitch there – with afternoon sessions scheduled for physical conditioning for the next two weeks – in anticipation of the team's season opener on Nov. 22 against the Orlando SeaWolves at Silver Spurs Arena.
The first week started with a team meeting, a true “get to know you” session since Florida inked an all-star list of free agents this past summer – 11 in all – and traded for the Major Arena Soccer League's reigning Rookie of the Year Zach Reget.
That group, which includes Gordy Gurson (fourth overall in points in league last year), Ricardo Carvalho (ninth in league in goals last year), Joey Tavernese (126 goals in 123 career games ) and front-line defender Drew Ruggles from the current MASL champion Milwaukee Wave, will step in along side many returning fan favorites including Victor Parreiras, Anthony Arico, Lucas Teixeira and Lucas Montelares, who have all been with the Florida since their inception in 2016. Antonio Manfut, who made an immediate impact on the field and with the fans after being acquired in a mid-season trade, also is part of the core group of players that return,
Head Coach Clay Roberts said many long hours spent in the offseason with Chief Executive Officer Dr. Panos Iakovidis and Chief Operating Officer Chris Economides helped the team develop a list of players with a common thread of important on and off field attributes that they would like to sign.
As testimony to the commitment to hugely upgrade the talent level following an injury-plagued 2018-19 season, virtually everyone on the list is now wearing the Tropics orange and teal.
“Every single one of you was chosen, because of your qualities, because of your commitment, and what we thought all together will make a team. It's a team effort, and that extends from the front office to all of you, ” Dr. Iakovidis said in addressing the star-studded group at its first gathering of the season on Monday. “Every one of you was discussed before bringing you here. You all had options. There are many teams out there that would have loved to have you. Thank you for being here. I believe, we believe, we can make history with the Tropics.”
Roberts, the only head coach the Tropics have had since launching for the 2016-17 MASL season, said there is plenty of opportunity ahead, that can only be realized with the right approach and work ethic.
“The success of what we can do has very little to do with the ball right now. It has everything for us wanting to play for each other,” Roberts said. “We've all been part of successful groups, but being a family is not ordained. So with so many new faces in the room, it's very important to get to know each other. I want everyone to know that "Hey, I've got your back no matter what once we get going.”
The huge jump in talent comes with a huge jump in what the results should be, he added.
“There's a major spotlight on us, I love that. I'm very excited by that. Let's step into that together with confidence,” Roberts added, “If the group will work the way we expect it to work, that won't be an issue for us,.”
After spending three straight games on the road to open the year, they will open the home portion of their 12-game schedule on Saturday, Dec. 14, when they host Orlando, before visits from the Baltimore Blast on Dec. 21 (winners of three straight MASL championships from 2016-18) and the current MASL champion, Milwaukee Wave on Dec. 28.
For more information, including season ticket plans now available, starting as low as $70 for all 12-games, visit fltropics.com, or call 863-240-0101.