St. Louis Ambush defender and former Rochester Lancer Robert Acosta has been named the 2017-2018 Major Arena Soccer League Defender of the Year.

In his first season with the Ambush, he was a key contributor to the Ambush defense. Acosta played in all 22 games for the Ambush, scoring 1 goal and assisting on 2. He jumped from only 8 blocked shots in 2016-2017 to a league-leading 49 in 2017-2018.

The Ambush saw measurable improvement on the field throughout the season, improving their record from 1-21 with 83 goals scored and 150 allowed in 2016-2017 to 3-19 with 110 goals scored and 154 allowed in 2017-2018.

Robert played his 5th season of professional arena soccer with the Ambush this year. He has previously played for the Norfolk SharX (MISL), the Rochester Lancers and the past two seasons with the Cedar Rapids Rampage, both of the MASL.

Acosta has literally traveled the world to play soccer. St. Louis is the ninth city he’s lived and played in since leaving home at the age of 18. Most recently, he spent July traveling around Denmark playing 10 matches against Premier League and First Division teams. In July, he earned his first outdoor professional contract IFK As in Sweden. Robert also played amateur soccer with Cedar Rapids Rampage United (PLA), Hampton Roads/Virginia Beach Piranhas (PDL) and the Virginia Legacy (PDL).

Acosta spent the 2015 summer in Rochester, playing for the Ukrainian-Americans in the Premier Division of the Rochester District Soccer League, coached by current Lancers General Manager Marc Mandell.

On April 29th 2017, Acosta took part in a friendly while playing for FC Tuscon against professional USL side Phoenix Rising FC, which featured star players Omar Bravo, Didier Drogba, and Shawn Wright-Phillips. He registered an assist in a 3-2 loss.

Acosta is a native of Tuscon, Arizona. He played collegiate soccer at Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa.

I had a chance to speak with Robert where we discussed him being named MASL Defender of the Year, his time as a Lancer, and all the places that soccer has taken him.