NISL Newcomer Takes Top League Honor, Central Florida’s Raphael Tobias is Men’s MVP
TAMPA, FL – The National Indoor Soccer League (NISL) has named Central Florida Crusaders’ Raphael Tobias as the league’s Most Valuable Player in the men’s divisions. He earns the honor in his first year as a member of one of the two expansion teams for the league’s 2023 season.
Tobias took the NISL’s men’s division by storm this season, leading outright or tying in all statistical categories for offensive players including total points (53/+16), goals (29), assists (24/+3), points per game average (4.4/+.4), short-handed goals (1), power play goals (5) and game winning goals (4). He also led the league in Star Points (230/+50), earning five 1st Stars, three 2nd Stars and two 3rd Stars in his twelve total appearances.
Central Florida Head Coach and NISL Coach of the Year Tom Traxler said, “I am so thrilled for Rapha! He deserves this honor for his performance this season. Obviously, he was a catalyst in our attack, and in addition to getting his (own) goals, he set up some great goals, as well. His understanding of indoor (soccer) and his vision on the turf stood out.”
Starting at forward for all 12 of the games he competed in, his outstanding play quickly elevated the Crusaders team to the top of the standings (13-2), a position they never let go of this season, on route the men’s division championship title and the highest recorded winning percentage (.867) in league history.
“I want to thank every player and staff member of the Crusaders for their continuous support. Through the season, we became a family. I appreciate the dedication of each of the players that continued to push me harder to reach better levels in every single session and game,” said Tobias, when asked his thoughts on earning the MVP recognition.
The Central Florida Crusaders have already been busy in the off-season, building on their 2023 success, as the organization recently named Nigel Orme as their Team President. The women’s team finished the season in second place.
ABOUT CENTRAL FLORIDA CRUSADERS: The Central Florida Crusades were formally announced in the summer of 2022 as one of two National Indoor Soccer League (NISL) expansion teams. The Crusaders operate both a women's and men’s professional indoor soccer teams. In their inaugural 2023 season, the men finished as NISL Champions and posted the highest win percentage in league history (13-2 record). The women’s team was the division’s runner-up. Their home turf is in Additional Financial Arena, on the campus of UCF. For more information visit www.cflcrusaders.com.
ABOUT NATIONAL INDOOR SOCCER LEAGUE (NISL): The National Indoor Soccer League was founded in January 2021 by a group of seasoned sports team/league owners with over 50 years of ownership experience. The league features both a Men's & Women's Division, competing in double header game days over a 20-game regular season that takes place between the months of January and April. Current teams include Central FL Crusaders (Orlando), Columbus Rapids (Georgia), Fayetteville Fury, Memphis Americans, Rome Gladiators (Georgia), and Tampa Bay Strikers. The NISL is committed to promoting and supporting our member teams, and to providing an avenue for players, coaches, and front office staff to develop their skills and gain exposure for opportunities at higher levels, all while delivering high-quality, affordable entertainment in the communities we serve. For more information, go to nislpro.com.