Soccer is making a return to The Lakeland Center.
While the George Jenkins Arena has played host to basketball, hockey and football teams over the years, it hasnt hosted a soccer team since the Tampa Bay Rowdies played a number of home games there during the 1980s. Starting in November, Florida Tropics SC a men's indoor soccer team will begin its inaugural season.
The goal, like each of its athletic predecessors, is to prosper in an otherwise tough market for small-scale professional sports.
Soccer is hot right now, team owner and CEO Andrew Haines said. Look at the success Orlando City is having. The Rowdies have been solid. Youve got all these kids that play soccer over 40,000 within 40 minutes of here thats our base right there.
The Tropics will play in a newly-formed league, the Indoor Professional League, and Haines said during a press conference at The Lakeland Center on Monday that the league is still adding teams. Schedules should be put together by early September and the home opener is tentatively slated for Nov. 11.