Tropics Strengthen Defense with Signing of Victor Baez and Stefan Mijatovic
LAKELAND, Fla – The Florida Tropics continue their roster makeover during the Major Arena Soccer League free agency period with the signing of Victor Baez, a former league Defender of the Year nominee.
In addition, they have also signed Stefan Mijatovich, who played late in the season last year for the Orlando SeaWolves. Per league and team policies, terms of the agreements were not disclosed.
Baez did not play in the league last season, but has six seasons of professional indoor soccer experience, going back to the 2013-14 campaign. He became a full-time player in 2014-15 when he appeared in 19 games for his hometown team, Saltilo Rancho Seco (Mexico). The MASL defender that season had 12 goals and 13 assists, and followed that up with his best season, scoring 28 goals and adding 15 assists to be one of the three finalists for Defender of the Year in 2015-16
In all, he has appeared in 82 MASL games with Salito, Monterrey and Soles de Sonora, recording 57 goals and 42 assists. The 29 year-old had 22 blocked shots in the 2017-18 season, which would have ranked first on the Tropics last year.
“When we pledged to upgrade our roster, we wanted to make sure we cast a wide net and talk to as many talented players as possible,” Coach Clay Roberts said. “To have a former MASL Defender of the Year nominee speaks for itself. Victor is a quality player at both ends of the floor, and gives us an immediate and significant upgrade in our defensive third, not to mention championship game experience in the league as well.”
Baez was a member of the 2016-17 Soles de Sonora team that lost to the Baltimore Blast in the MASL finals and a member of the 2017-18 Monterrey Flash that also fell to the Blast in the championship round.
At 6'-5”, Mijatovich brings a physical presence to the Tropics defense. He signed with Orlando for the final six weeks of the 2018-19 MASL season, and in five games scored two goals and added an assist. He scored one of the goals against the Tropics in Orlando's 6-4 win that ended the regular season for both teams on April 13. The Elmhurst, Illinois, native started his professional indoor soccer career with the Chicago Mustangs, appearing in seven games during the 2016-17 season, scoring once.
The free agency period ends at 6 p.m. EST on May 30. The 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 www.fltropics.com.