Three-time reigning MASL Most Valuable Player Franck Tayou’s new team is expected to be revealed tomorrow, but Tayou won’t be there for the press conference, and might not be in the MASL at all when the 2018/19 season begins in December.
Tayou, who has long has MLS aspirations, is currently playing for Fresno FC, a USL affiliate of the Vancouver Whitecaps. A potential call-up to MLS would give Tayou an opportunity to trade turf for grass.
Catching on with MLS isn’t a given either. He’s 28 and MLS seems to favor wunderkinds and fading international superstars. It’s also something he’s been working towards for some time, racking up MASL scoring records in the meantime.
In the 2016/17 season Tayou got out of his contract with San Antonio FC (he tied for the team lead with five goals in 2016 despite only playing 17 of 30 games) in order to complete the MASL season with the Sonora Soles.
Last year Tayou was a late signing with the Richmond Kickers and scored a memorable game-tying goal in the dying minutes of his first game, but that stood as his only goal in his 13 games with Richmond.
In a seeming step back, Tayou signed this summer with the NPSL’s FC Wichita with his brother Uzi, Matt Clare, and James Togbah. In May, Franck scored a great stoppage time goal that gave Wichita a 4-3 upset win over the USL’s Tulsa Roughnecks in the second round of the US Open Cup.
Other teams took notice and on June 15 Tayou signed with Fresno FC and again made the highlight reel with a goal from about 200 feet out, but to date it’s his only goal in five games.
Not knowing whether your best player is coming back is not a unique problem for the MASL, but it’s hard to market something you might not be able to deliver.
It has been over two years since the owners from Toronto first met with the MASL, and it was on April 7, 2017 that the league announced that Toronto would be a part of the 2018/19 lineup. Fifteen months later, however, the team still doesn’t have a name or even a website and nothing to show for their time besides a few well-produced games featuring the Canadian National Arena Soccer Team.
Likewise, the Dallas Sidekicks went dark late last offseason with a promise to return after a year off. “The Sidekicks Sports Management LLC are opting to take the Dallas Sidekicks 2017-18 Major Arena Soccer League (MASL) season off to allow for re-organization, with plans for a full return for the 2018-19 MASL season,” the release read in part. Ten months later there have been no updates. Soccer writer John Lenard tried in vain to get some answers in his recent column Investigating Dallas Sidekicks’ disappearance.
There might be some news on the way for Toronto and Dallas, but at least Tuesday we will find out where Franck Tayou will be playing. Or maybe not.