Tropics will open 6th season in Major Arena Soccer League in Baltimore Saturday

by Brian Ackley

LAKELAND, Fla – The Florida Tropics will open their sixth season in the Major Arena Soccer League Saturday, Dec. 4, against one of the most iconic franchises in the history of the sport.

Baltimore will be celebrating its 40th season of professional indoor soccer during the MASL’s 2021-22 season, and will host the Tropics in the season opener for both teams in a 6:05 p.m. kickoff at the SECU Arena on the campus of Towson University.

Florida will be looking for a third-straight season atop the league’s standings. Two years ago, they were 18-3 and declared Eastern Conference Champions after the Covid-19 pandemic caused the cancellation of the team’s three remaining regular season games and playoffs. Last year, the Tropics posted a league best 10-3 record during the regular season, but fell in two games to the eventual league champion San Diego Sockers in the first round of the playoffs.

The Tropics 28-6 regular season record over the past two years are best in the MASL.

The team spent much of the offseason retaining many of their key free agents, including all-time leading scorer Victor Parreiras. 2019-20 MASL Defender of the Year Drew Ruggles, and goalkeeper Hugo Silva who has been an All MASL second team pick each of the past two seasons.

Other team free agents re-signed were forward Zach Reget, forward Ricardo Carvalho and midfielders Anthony Arico and Lucio Gonzaga.

The team also signed long-time Blast forward Andrew Hoxie  as a free-agent this summer. Hoxie won three consecutive championships with the Blast, and in 198 career regular season and playoff games with Rochester, Wichita and Baltimore, has 148 goals and 81 assists (229 total points). He is one of nine players in the Florida lineup to have averaged at least one point per game in their careers. Unfortunately, a pre-season leg injury will keep him out of the line-up this weekend.

After Saturday’s start, Florida will travel to the Empire State for a 2:05 p.m. kickoff against Utica City FC. Both teams, along with the Tropics and Harrisburg Heat, make up the MASL’s eastern division.  All Tropics games, home and away, will be broadcast live on the MASL YouTube channel, free of charge.

The Tropics – presented by Bond Clinic – will host their  home opener Saturday, Dec. 18 when they meet the Ontario Fury at the RP Funding Center in Lakeland, part of a historic nine-game homestand. Kickoff for the sixth home opener in team history is set for 5:05 p.m. 

Season tickets for all 12 Florida home games which guarantee the best seats in the house are now on sale by calling 863-240-0101. Each family season ticket account includes a parking pass this season.

In addition, the “Tropics Blitz” will provide free general admission tickets to many of the 200 level seats at the RP Funding Center for the entire 2021-22 season thanks to the team’s sponsor as a thank-you for five years of support, and as a way of providing a great evening of family entertainment for parents and kids who have had their activities curtailed because of the ongoing pandemic. Vehicles with two or more persons will pay $20 to park, and then be able to take their parking receipt to the RP Funding Center box office for the same number of free tickets to that day’s game as occupants in the vehicle. Single occupant vehicles will pay just $10 for parking. 

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