Canadian indoor soccer star Ian Bennett headed to the Florida Tropics

·2 min read

Canadian indoor soccer star Ian Bennett has joined the Florida Tropics for the 2020-21 Major Arena Soccer League season.

The 37-year-old from Hamilton has been with the Milwaukee Wave since 2009 but found himself without a team when the Wave cancelled their 2020-21 season due to pandemic-related restrictions on attendance at the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena.

That ends a run of 36 straight indoor seasons for the Wave, who have won seven titles. The team is coached by Canadian Giuliano Oliviero.

Milwaukee was poised to defend its MASL title when the season was cut short in mid-March, on the eve of the playoffs, due to the pandemic. The league declared the Monterrey Flash and Florida Tropics as Western and Eastern Conference regular-season champions.

The Flash (20-2) and Tropics (18-3) were leading their conferences when the season was called. Milwaukee (14-6) was second in the East.

The MASL has opted for a modified 2020-2021 regular season, with 11 teams participating — as opposed to the 17 last season. While final schedule details have yet to be announced, the season will likely run January through April.

Bennett and other Milwaukee players on multi-year contracts will revert to the Wave at the conclusion of the season.

The Canadian forward has appeared in 273 indoor games, scoring 381 goals and adding 104 assists. He was a first-team all-MASL selection in three of the last four seasons, making the second all-star team the other year.

Bennett was second in the league in goals scored last season with 44. In the three previous campaigns, he scored 47, 50 and 53 goals, respectively.

“This is truly a watershed moment for this franchise," Florida head coach Clay Roberts said in a statement. "To add a player of Ian’s talents, stature and class is truly a game-changing move.

"The Tropics and its ownership are committed to finishing what we started last season when we won the Eastern Conference championship. Bringing in someone of Ian’s immense skill, leadership and championship mindset will be a big boost in helping us in trying finish the job this spring."

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This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 4, 2020

Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press