Tropics sign 2017-18 MASL Defender-of-Year Robert Acosta

by Brian Ackley

LAKELAND, Fla. – The dramatic makeover of the Florida Tropics roster for the upcoming 2019-20 season has continued with the signing of the Major Arena Soccer League's 2017-18 Defender-of-the-Year Robert Acosta. Per league and team policies, no further terms of the agreement were disclosed.

The 32-year old native of Tuscon, Arizona, Acosta led the entire league in blocked shots in 2017-18 with 49 in just 22 games, earning not only first-team All MASL honors, but the league's Defender-of-the year honors as well.

He is the 10th free-agent signing this off-season, to go along with some of the top players in the league including Gordy Gurson (fourth in goals last year in the MASL), Ricardo Carvalho (ninth in the league in goals), Drew Ruggles (top-tier defender on champion Milwaukee Wave) and Joey Tavernese (217 points in 123 career games).

“Even though we brought in  a lot of very talented players earlier this summer during the league's free agency period, we have never stopped having discussions with many players to explore ways to continue to improve our roster,” Coach Clay Roberts said. “With other premier defenders we've signed like Drew and Stephen DeRoux, along with two of our key core players the last three years like Lucas Teixeira and Lucas Montelares, our defensive lineup has never been better. Robert will absolutely complement our defensive effort, and be a compliment to the offensive talent we've brought in as well."

Also on the backline will be another of the Tropics signees this offseason, Victor Baez, who was a MASL Defender-of-the-Year finalist in the 2015-16 season.

Acosta has spent the last two years with the St. Louis Ambush. This will be his seventh season of professional indoor soccer, having started his career with the MISL Nofolk SharX, before spending a season with the Rochester Lancers and then two years with the Cedar Rapids Rampage. In 65 career arena games, he has added three goals and three assists.

“I'm really excited for the upcoming season. I would like to thank Coach Clay and the owners for the opportunity to join an incredibly talented group of players in pursuit of the title,” Acosta said. “They've built a solid foundation over the last few seasons and have also signed an arsenal of talent this off-season, and I'm blessed to be called to join the mission. I'm looking forward to meeting the fans and getting in to the community.”

He said there was on other big benefit in coming to Lakeland this winter.

“The Arizonan in me is super thankful to get to warmer climates for the winter. Let's get Tropical!” he added.

Florida will open its fourth season in the Major Arena Soccer League in late November, and play a 24-game regular season. The team's home opener at the RP Funding Center in Lakeland is set for Saturday, Dec. 14. against the Orlando SeaWolves, who will also provide the opposition on Nov. 22 for the season-opener for both teams at the Silver Spurs Arena in Kissimmee. Training Camp is scheduled to open for the revamped roster in about three weeks.

Season tickets are now on sale, with deals for upper-level sideline seats for just $70 for all 12 home games. For more information, visit, or call 863-240-0101.