INDIANAPOLIS – Indy Eleven today secured the services of another key member from last year’s groundbreaking side with the re-signing of defender Marco Franco. Per club policy, terms of the new contract that keeps the 25-year-old defender with “Indiana’s Team” will not be disclosed.
Franco is the tenth member of the Indy Eleven roster to return from the 2016 squad that captured the NASL’s Spring Season title and fought the New York Cosmos to a 0-0 draw in The Championship Final before eventually falling in penalty kicks.
“I’m excited to return to Indy Eleven and get the season started. With the core that’s returning from last year we should be able to pick up where we left off,” said Franco. “It’s going to be a new challenge, but I know we’re all hungry for success and eager to fill that void left from the Final last year.”
With Franco’s signing, the native of Chino Hills, Calif., is one of two players, alongside midfielder Don Smart, confirmed to be a part of all four seasons of play for Indy Eleven. The product of UC-Irvine initially joined the Eleven on loan from MLS’ Chicago Fire SC late in his rookie campaign of 2014.
“Marco has established himself as a quality right back who, through his tough one-on-one defending, can handle any player in the league,” said Indy Eleven head coach Tim Hankinson. “His ability to push forward and attack is also among the best in the NASL and provides a different dynamic when we possess the ball.”
Franco has been one of Indy Eleven’s most dependable players since his arrival, leading the squad in both games started (41) and minutes played (3,560) across NASL regular season play the last two seasons combined. In all, the right back has appeared in 58 games for “Indiana’s Team” across all competitions (NASL regular season, The Championship postseason and Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup) since joining the side in September 2014.