BYU men’s soccer team bolstered by brotherly bond

Danielle Jardine
Seth and Taylor Fankhauser, ages 22 and 23 respectively, both start for the BYU men’s soccer team and are making an impact with their connection on the field. (Danielle Jardine)

Seth and Taylor Fankhauser are making an impact with their connection on the field as starters for the BYU men’s soccer team.

Born and raised in Cottonwood Heights, Utah, the two brothers are no strangers to each other’s playing style, playing together at Brighton High School and the past couple years at BYU.

In club soccer, the brothers both played for Sparta United. They started on the same team when they were younger, then split up into the 1994 and 1995 teams based on their ages.

“It’s awesome, we got to play together a lot growing up,” Taylor said. “Then we kind of went our separate ways and now to be back on the same field is sweet.”

Seth played his freshman year at BYU while Taylor was still on his mission, and they have played for two seasons together since they both returned home.

“It was one of the reasons that I chose to come to BYU, so I could play with my brother,” Seth explained. “I feel like we always know where each other is going to be, so we’re pretty good at combining.”

Savannah Hopkinson
Seth Fankhauser takes a shot during the game against Utah on Sept. 27. (Savannah Hopkinson)

The brothers and their coach Brandon Gilliam agreed that having two brothers on the field together allows for a special connection and gives the team an advantage.

“A brother always has a brother’s back, and you’ll see it between them; taking care of each other and helping each other,” said Gilliam, who also got the opportunity to play with his brother on a team.

Since both brothers play in the midfield, they hold each other’s position while the other makes a run or vice versa. They also know each other’s quirks and tendencies and make plays that no other player would dare attempt.     

“In the first season we played together, Seth got subbed on, and within one minute we got a free kick,” Taylor said. “He played it really quick to me through and I was one on one with the goalie for a goal. He’s the only person I know that would have actually looked for me on that run and actually had the guts to play it quick.”

This family connection is nothing new for BYU soccer. As Gilliam said, “(we’ve) had a lot of brothers who have played together on the team” over the years.

“Teams always tend to take care of each other,” Gilliam added, “(Seth and Taylor) definitely take care of each other more than normal.”

Though the two brothers are both nearing the end of their time at BYU, they will not be the last of the Fankhauser family to play for the Cougars.

Their younger brother, Ben, who is currently on a mission in Managua, Nicaragua, will also play for BYU when he returns home next summer.

“Growing up I never really considered playing professionally,” Seth said of his plans after BYU, “but I’m undeclared and I have no idea what I want to do, so soccer is becoming more and more appealing.”

Taylor also mentioned he has toyed with the idea of going pro and playing overseas.

Savannah Hopkinson
Taylor Fankhauser dribbles the ball against Utah. (Savannah Hopkinson)

Both Seth and Taylor got the chance to play for Team USA in Taiwan at the World University Games, testing their skills against some of the best young players from around the world.  

After this experience and being able to compete at such a high level, the brothers are much more open to taking their soccer careers beyond the collegiate club ranks.  

The team defeated Boise State 6-0 and Utah 7-0 on the road last week. Fans can look for the Fankhausers when they return to South Field on Oct. 18 to play Weber State at 7 p.m. MDT.

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