Tropics trio of Bennett, Silva, Vandegriffe earn All Major Arena Soccer League honors

by Brian Ackley

LAKELAND, Fla. – Three members of the 2021 Florida Tropics have earned All Major Arena Soccer League all-star honors for the recently concluded regular season.

Ian Bennett, who led the MASL in goals this year, was named to the MASL’s First Team, the fourth time in the last five years he has earned such an honor. Bennett was on loan from the Milwaukee Wave this past season, since the Wave chose not to participate in the 2021 season. According to the league, Bennett’s right will revert back to Milwaukee now that the Tropics season has come to a close. 

Bennett had 19 goals in 13 regular season games, and added eight assists, to also lead the league in total points scored. In His career, Bennett has now appeared in 286 career games, scoring  400 goals and adding 112 assists. 

Named to the MASL’s Second Team of all stars is goaltender Hugo Silva, the second straight year he has been so honored. Silva played every minute of every regular season and playoff games for Florida this year, compiling a 10-3 regular season mark. In addition to leading the league in wins, Silva led all goalkeepers with a 3.89 goals against average and was fourth in saves percentage at .733.

Chad Vandegriffe was named a MASL Third Team defender, after signing with Florida as a free agent from the Milwaukee Wave prior to the 2021 campaign, Vandegriffe was one of just three players to play in all 13 of the team’s regular season games, and led Florida with 11 blocked shots, often drawing the defensive assignment against to top target forwards on opposing teams. 

The Tropics fell in the MASL semi-finals to the San Diego Sockers, losing both games of the series by a lone goal, the first one in overtime, after winning this year’s regular season championship to earn a first-round playoff bye.

The Sockers and Ontario Fury will play for the MASL Ron Newman Cup on April 15 and 17 at Toyota Arena in Ontario, California.

The United Premier Soccer League outdoor Tropics team will be on the road this weekend to take on Naples FC before returning to Lake Myrtle Sports Complex on April 17 to meet the St. Petersburg Aztecs in a 7 p.m. start.