Going into the offseason, head coach Tab Ramos talked extensively in interviews about the need for his side to become more athletic in order to implement his high-energy, high-pressing system.
Enter Fafa Picault, the first acquisition of the offseason. The 29-year-old will be tasked with expanding the field with his speed and dribbling ability.
As Ramos evaluated the needs for the team, he wanted to identify players that would fit his offensive game model and bring MLS experience to a young Dynamo roster. That evaluation led to Picault, who has tormented outside backs in MLS for four seasons and brings nearly a decade of professional soccer experience to BBVA Stadium.
The winger also brings playoff experience to Ramos’ squad after spending the last two seasons with FC Dallas and Philadelphia Union. Picault made his postseason debut in the 2019 Audi MLS Cup Playoffs and scored for the Union in their 4-3 triumph over the New York Red Bulls on Oct. 22, 2019. The Miami native also appeared in FC Dallas’ two playoff games this year after finishing the regular season with three goals and two assists in 18 games.
"I think he is a player that fits perfectly into one of the profiles of the way we want to play, of our game model,” Ramos said. “He has knowledge of the league, he has been successful in the league, he has fantastic speed - these are all attributes that we looked at."
Picault will be key to keeping opposing backlines honest as he attacks from wide positions. He will be tasked with helping the Dynamo build on a 2019 season that generated 244 chances created, the fourth highest tally in MLS.
"He can be true winger, he has the speed to make the field big. He can make other teams play him conservative and that is the type of winger we are looking for,” Ramos added.
Football has taken Picault around the world both at the club and international level. The winger began his youth career with the reserve team of Cagliari in Serie A. He signed his first professional contract in 2012 with the Tampa Bay Rowdies of the NASL and win a championship in his first season with the club.
Picault returned to Europe in 2014 to join AC Sparta Prague in the Czech Republic and continued his development with 2. Bundesliga team St. Pauli from 2015-2017. He helped St. Pauli finish in a top four spot for the first time since 2012 and returned to the U.S. in 2017. Picault returned after making his first appearance for the U.S. Men’s National Team in a friendly against Puerto Rico in 2016.
Picault’s next destination is BBVA Stadium and Houston Sports Park where he will begin preparations for his fifth season in MLS. For Ramos, adding Picault will add another veteran voice to a young locker room that features more than half of the roster – 13 players – who check in at 25 years old or younger.
"I believe he speaks four or five languages, he has lived in many different places. He is a worldly person, he is a good person and the type of individual you want other guys to follow,” Ramos said. “I know that he is a winner and he is a great teammate.”