In the middle of their inaugural season, San Antonio FC found a few players with the potential to truly help an offense that was struggling to find goals. One of them, Franck Tayou, was brought up from Major Arena Soccer League to once again play “real” soccer.
The legend of “Franck the Tank” was born.
Tayou went on to score five goals in 17 appearances with SAFC, tying Rafa Castillo as the team’s leading scorer for the year despite joining midseason.
However after the 2016 season came to a close, things got a little confusing. Tayou returned to his MASL club Soles de Sonora and began the new MASL season just days after his USL season came to a close. Since the indoor season began in October, he has once again taken the league by storm with a league best 49 goals scored and 3.56 points per game average.
To date, Tayou has not been seen in media portions of SAFC pre-season training or friendlies. He appears to still be playing for Soles de Sonora, as their Facebook pages shows they posted an MASL-record 21 goals against their opponent Thursday night.
With another potential MVP title on the line, it might be understandable that Tayou would choose to finish out the MASL season with his club. However, the MASL regular season doesn’t end until March. In no small thanks to his contributions the club has already made the playoffs.
The timing raises two concerns.
The first concern is that Tayou is an obvious success in MASL and may have changed his mind about playing outdoor soccer again. At Soles de Sonora, Franck plays alongside his brother Uzi in a game he is literally one of the best ever at playing. In San Antonio, Tayou is put through the same rigors of Texas summers as all of the other players. On top of being in a new situation, Tayou is also faced with the same concern many USL players are faced with: if the USL team gets moved to MLS, he might not have a job.
The second concern is one that Tim Holt, Darren Powell, and the rest of the SAFC staff have probably already discussed: is it in the club’s best interest to bring back a player that hasn’t taken a break since October 2015? Because of the timing of the two leagues Tayou has played in, he hasn’t had a true offseason since summer 2015. SAFC Assistant Coach Andy Thomson is specifically known for his periodization techniques, part of which involves ensuring players are getting the proper amount of training and rest. Tayou’s marathon will see him play two full years of soccer without taking an offseason should he return to San Antonio, more than two if he returns to MASL after the 2017 USL season.
San Antonio FC officials could not be immediately reached for comment, but Tayou is officially on the 2017 roster wearing the number 70 kit. His brother wears 70 for their MASL club.
One thing we do know is that Tayou seemed ready to come back to San Antonio when his return was announced in November 2016. In a SAFC press release, Tayou says, “I’m really thankful to have another opportunity to do what I love. I am looking forward to representing this great football club. I have a great relationship with the fans and I can’t wait to play in front of them for another season.” But with San Antonio FC already playing friendlies and their USL season opener potentially conflicting with the MASL playoffs, questions are starting to form about if fans should count on seeing “The Tank” roll in again to start 2017.
Tayou was dynamic and game-changing when deployed in 2016. There’s no doubt fans want him back for 2017. But with SAFC bringing in significantly more experienced players compared to last season, does Tayou deserve a starting spot that could go to someone who has been with the club throughout preseason training? If his body can handle playing both seasons, is it fair to ask him to be devoted to just one team?
Let us know what you think in the comments or social media.