Efrain "Wilo" Martinez Signs with Tropics for Upcoming Season

by Brian Ackley

LAKELAND, Fla. – Veteran indoor soccer goal scorer Efrain “Wilo” Martinez – who has 121 goals in 116 career games – has signed with the Florida Tropics for the 2019-20 season. Per league and team policies, terms of the agreement were not disclosed.                   

His career started in 2012-13 with Rio Grand Valley, where he appeared in four games but scored six goals. He then spent four years with the Chicago Mustangs, a season with the Monterrey Flash and was back last year with RGV. His best MASL season was in 2015-16 with Chicago, when he scored 25 goals and added 21 assists in 20 games. He was the Barracudas second-leading scorer last year with 19 goals and 17 assists while dressing for all 24 RGV's games.

“There is always a need for quality, experienced goal scorers, and Efrain has proven his skills over and over again in the league,” Coach Clay Roberts said. “He will be a valuable addition as our roster upgrades continue. And we aren't necessarily done. As we have said, we will continue to look for top talent even as we approach the start of training camp.”                   

Players will report to Lakeland next weekend, with the first day of training camp slated for Tuesday, Oct. 22, exactly one-month ahead of the team's fourth season opener, Nov. 22 in Orlando. The team will open the home portion of their 24-game regular season schedule on Saturday, Dec. 14 at the RP Funding Center in Lakeland, also against the local rival SeaWolves.

With the signing, the Tropics have now come to terms with five of the top 23 free agents available this summer as ranked by the independent website turfandboard.com which covers the sport.                   

Forwards Gordy Gurson (No. 3), Ricardo Carvalho (No. 6), Joey Tavernese (No. 12) and defender Drew Ruggles (No. 13) previously inked deals with the Tropics, which continues a massive roster overhaul after a disappointing 6-18 record last season.

Several key core players will be back for a fourth season with the Tropics including fan favorites like forward Victor Parreiras, midfielder Anthony Arico and defenders Lucas Teixeira and Lucas Montelares.                   

Martinez was a teammate this summer of Gurson's as both played for Deportivo Don Roge of the Liga Mexicana de Futbol Rapido, an eighth-year summer arena soccer league in Mexico. Martinez was the team's leading scorer. The MASL currently has two teams south of the border, Monterrey and Soles de Sonora, who will visit Lakeland on Feb. 22.

Martinez will join the Tropics for pre season pending visa transfer approval. For more information, including season-ticket plans that start as low as $70 for the full 12-game home schedule, visit www.fltropics.com or phone 863-240-0101.