Floyd Franks is a bit different than most professional players in the United States. A former Major League Soccer forward, he currently plays for the Cleveland City Stars of USL Second Division. His two extra time tallies against the Minnesota Thunder of USL First Division led Cleveland to a 2-0 victory and a date with the Chicago Fire of MLS in the Third Round on July 1 at Toyota Park.
As a result of that performance, the editorial staff of TheCup.us named Franks the Player of the Second Round for this year’s competition. Floyd sat down with TheCup.us to talk about his career, the Open Cup to date, and his thoughts of facing his former side (Franks was with the Fire in 2006 and 2007).
TheCup.us: You’re originally from Alabama, went to college in Charlotte, and played for the Chicago Fire. How did you end up in Cleveland?
Franks: Cleveland Coach Martin Rennie had seen me play and he called me last off season to see if I was available. I was still under contract with Chicago at the time but after my time was up in Chicago I remembered our conversation and I called Martin back and they welcomed me with open arms.
TheCup.us: Compare playing in MLS with playing in USL-2 and the cities as well. Is there any resentment toward the Fire and/or any extra excitement about facing them on Tuesday?Franks: The level is definitely higher in MLS but there is a lot of individual talent that has been passed over by MLS teams in the USL. The cities are different in the USL and with budgets we don’t get as much chance to stay. We usually drive right back after the game is over.
As far as the Fire, there is no resentment at all. I’m happy to be where I’m at. This is the right place for me right now. I’m looking forward to going back to Chicago because I have a lot of friends on the team and I think it will be fun to play against them and a good challenge for our club.
TheCup.us: The team has been on the road in each of the first two rounds playing teams with solid pedigrees in the US Open Cup. How has the team embraced their underdog status in the competition?Franks: We just tried to feed off that with our work ethic in the games. On the road it’s always tough so you know you have to go outwork the home team. Going into these games we are not overwhelmed by our competition at all and that’s one of the reasons we’ve been successful, we have a lot of self belief.
TheCup.us: With your past experience not to mention three of Cleveland’s four goals in the competition, you are definitely seen by outsiders as the go-to player for the City Stars. Is that a role you relish?Franks: It’s always nice to have people feel that they can trust you and I’m happy to have earned my teammates’ trust. For me, my main thing is to go out there and work hard as a part of the team and not really as somebody who takes the onus on himself.
TheCup.us: What’s in the future for Floyd Franks? Are you looking for another opportunity at MLS, hoping to catch on with a USL-1 side….looking at Europe?Franks: I definitely want to keep playing. My goal is to go to Europe, but if an MLS team were to call I would consider playing for New York because of how much I respect Coach Juan Carlos Osorio. I played for him in the past and I believe he’s one of, if not the, best coaches in the league and I would love to play for him again. All in all, I would like to go play in Europe just because it’s always been a dream of mine. If you were going to play soccer anywhere, it would be great to play where the game started.