Empire Signs MASL Veteran Anthony Arico

by Gunnar Berndt

Florida Tropics legend adds experience, winning mentality  

Ontario, Calif. — The Empire Strykers today announced they have signed Major Arena Soccer League (MASL) veteran Anthony Arico through the remainder of the 2023-24 season. The 34-year-old joins the Southern Californians after spending several years as one of the key players on Florida Tropics SC, which is currently on hiatus. Arico is available for this afternoon’s Strykers home match against the Tacoma Stars. 

“This addition helps us tremendously,” said Empire’s head coach, Paul Wright. "On top of being a gifted player, Anthony is a proven winner and a leader who always puts the team above all else. His brief presence in training has already accelerated the growth of some of our younger guys. As we push to make the playoffs, Anthony could turn out a major factor in accomplishing that goal. We’re thrilled he decided to join us.” 

Born in New Jersey, Arico moved with his family to Illinois at a young age and impressed as a member of the Crystal Lake Central High School soccer team as well as the Cary Defenders youth club. When the teenager’s family relocated again, he joined North Carolina’s South Charlotte Soccer Academy (now Charlotte Soccer Academy) and was soon recruited by Florida’s Eckerd College.

While enjoying a highly successful career with the Tritons, Arico also laced up for the reserve squads of the Chicago Fire and Orlando City SC as well as Florida’s renowned IMG Academy and two more Premier Development League (PDL) sides in Panama City Beach Pirates and Ocala Stampede. He subsequently played for the reserve team of the Tampa Bay Rowdies in the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL). 

Arico switched from grass to turf in 2013, joining the St. Louis Ambush of the Major Indoor Soccer League (MISL). After spending most of the following season with the MASL’s Milwaukee Wave, in fall 2015 the Florida native returned to the Ambush, which was then competing alongside the Wave in the Central Division.

Arico’s move from Missouri back to his home state and Florida Tropics SC prior to the 2016-17 campaign marked the beginning of an impressive run with the club, as the defender-midfielder earned iconic status over the course of 86 MASL regular seasons appearances and an additional 12 times taking the field in the playoffs. 

“I’m a big fan of the MASL and really enjoy playing in it, so I’m thrilled to have the chance to come back when the team I was previously on was taken from me,” said Arico. “The Strykers are a very talented, youthful team that’s just lacking a bit of experience. I believe being in training and sharing what I know has already made an impact. The guys are extremely open to input, and they know they’re capable of more than they’ve shown so far. We have a lot of favorable matchups left and control our own destiny. The playoffs are absolutely attainable.” 

Anthony Arico and the Empire Strykers host the Tacoma Stars and the San Diego Sockers today and this coming Wednesday, respectively. Tickets for both games at Toyota Arena in Ontario are available here.