LAKELAND, Fla. -- The Florida Tropics have acquired defender Mike Jones from the Dallas Sidekicks, Head Coach Clay Roberts has announced.
Forward VcMor Eligwe, a standout offensive player, goes from Florida to Dallas in the one-for-one trade between the two Major Arena Soccer League teams.
Jones is a veteran of 121 games in the MASL, mostly with the Sidekicks, and has 120 blocked shots. A big, stay-at-home defender, he has also chipped in with 15 goals and 19 assists in his indoor career. Of his eight seasons in the MASL, seven have been with the Sidekicks, and one year with the Mesquite Outlaws.
An original pick 28th overall by Kansas City in the 2011 Supplemental Major League Soccer draft, Jones appeared in one game later that summer for the New York Red Bulls, and was on the roster for Emirate Cup games against Paris St. Germain and Arsenal, but did not make an appearance.
He is the second player in Tropics history with Major League Soccer Experience. The first, defender Stepehn DeRoux, played 10 games for D.C. United and later appeared in 24 games for Florida.
A four-year player in the Missouri Valley Conference, the St. Louis native appeared in 60 career games for Southern Illinois University, and earned second team all MVC honors his senior season when he helped his team post seven shutouts. After his brief MLS stint, he played 67 games for FC Hjørring, a Division 1 pro team in Denmark.
Eligwe signed as a free agent with the Tropics as a free agent in the summer of 2020 after playing a season with the Mesquite Outlaws. . Over two years, he appeared in just 10 games after sustaining a season-ending leg injury just five games into the 2021-22 season. He was an important offensive contributor, however, getting 10 goals and four assists in his time with the Tropics. For his MASL career, Eligwe has played in 93 regular season and playoff games with 70 goals and 26 assists. He played for the Sidekicks from 202015-19, and is fully recovered from last season’s injury, although he has not dressed yet for Florida in the 2022-23 season.
Roberts said Jones will be an excellent fit for the Tropics backline which already features the reigning MASL Defender of the Year Chad Vandegriffe, and Drew Ruggles, who won that honor in 2019-20 and is currently second in the entire MASL in goals scored.
“Mike, for me, is a very good, strong target defender,” Roberts said. “He understands the game well, and brings some good physicality, a little more toughness to our team.”
The Tropics will be in Utica tonight for a 7:05 p.m. kickoff and back home at the RP Funding Center in Lakeland Friday, against the Chihuahua Savage. Both games will be streamed live on the MASL TV Channel on Twitch.
Tickets for all home games are available starting at just $7 per game by calling the arena box office at 863-834-8111. Although tickets are also available online at www.rpfundingcenter.com, service fees are significantly higher through Ticketmaster as opposed to calling the box office directly. Tickets are also available on game day at the box office.