Strykers Trade Franck Tayou to Utica City for Stefan Mijatovic, Quenton Swift

by Gunnar Berndt

Blockbuster trade further lowers average age of Empire’s 2023-24 roster 

Ontario, Calif. — The Empire Strykers today announced they have acquired defender Stefan Mijatovic and midfielder Quenton Swift from fellow Major Arena Soccer League (MASL) outfit Utica City FC in exchange for star forward Franck Tayou. The blockbuster trade marks the latest in a series of moves by the Strykers front office designed to field a younger, even hungrier squad heading into the 2023-24 season. Mijatovic and Swift are 27 and 28 years old, respectively.

The newest members of the Strykers will be joining the team for a three-game road swing to start the campaign in late November. Their first match at Toyota Arena in Ontario will be a clash with the visiting Baltimore Blast on December 15. Tickets are available here.

Stefan Mijatovic, who was born in Germany, grew up in Elmhurst, Ill. and played collegiately at local Morraine Valley Community College before embarking on his MASL career with the Chicago Mustangs in 2016-17. After stints with the Orlando SeaWolves (2018-19) and the Florida Tropics (2019-20), he joined the St. Louis Ambush for the 2021 campaign (started late due to the Covid-19 pandemic). Having missed 2021-22 due to injury, the towering defender was acquired by Utica midway through 2022-23.

Mijatovic has also spent time with outdoor side Chicago House AC of the National Independent Soccer Association (NISA). He is well known for his infectious personality, hard-nosed style of play and frequent attacking contributions.

A native of Enfield, Conn., Quenton Swift played his college soccer for the University of Hartford, where he also earned a bachelor’s degree in business management and served as a coach following his on-field career. Having spent 2019-20 with the MASL’s Baltimore Blast, the midfielder was signed by Utica in the lead-up to the 2021-22 season.

One of the most prolific goal-scorers in the history of the MASL, Franck Tayou exits the Inland Empire after averaging nearly two tallies per game since his arrival prior to the 2019-20 campaign. The 33-year-old, who has laced up for a number of indoor and outdoor teams, has been crowned MASL MVP and named to the All-MASL First Team on several occasions.

“Franck was a key part of our offense during his four seasons with the club,” said the Strykers’ executive vice president, Jimmy Nordberg. “We are grateful for his contributions and wish him all the best going forward.”

Nordberg continued, “The decision to bring in Stefan Mijatovic and Quenton Swift at the expense of such a household name has been very much strategic. As we continue to overhaul our roster, it’s crucial that we add players who can make a positive impact both on the turf and in the locker room. Stefan and Quenton have not only shown impressive athleticism and in-game intelligence. They’re also the kind of guys that others want to be around and fight for. We can’t wait to see how they integrate into the team.”

The Empire Strykers kick off their MASL regular season with a pair of road games in Mexico, as they face the Chihuahua Savage on November 24 and the Monterrey Flash on November 26, followed by the club’s highly anticipated home opener against Baltimore on December 15.