UPSL Announces North Carolina Expansion with Raleigh International Football Club

Raleigh (N.C.)-Based Pro Development Club Joins UPSL for 2020 Spring Season
Published Jul 4, 2019

July 4, 2019 – Los Angeles – The United Premier Soccer League (UPSL) is excited to announce Raleigh International FC as a new league member kicking off with the 2020 Spring Season.

Based in Raleigh (N.C.), Raleigh International FC will begin play in the UPSL Mid-Atlantic Division, and host its UPSL home game at WRAL Complex (7700 Perry Creek Road, Raleigh, NC 27616) in compliance with UPSL Minimum Standards.

United Premier Soccer League Mid-Atlantic Division Manager Andy Salandy said, "We are pleased to welcome to the Raleigh International FC United Premier Soccer League. Elhadj Cisse is an accomplished coach with top flight experience in North Carolina, and Raleigh International FC will be good fit for the Mid-Atlantic Division. The Raleigh market is ready for more Pro Development soccer, and we wish Raleigh International FC luck in preparing for the 2020 season."

Raleigh International FC is the 2018 North Carolina Adult State Cup champion.

Elhadj Cisse is Owner and Head Coach of Raleigh International FC. A native of Cote d'Ivore, Cisse was a two-year captain at N.C. State (NCAA) before he was selected by Chivas USA in the 2008 MLS SuperDraft.

Cisse recently completed his United Soccer Coaches National 'C' Coaching License course, and recently coached at North Carolina FC Youth Academy.

Raleigh International FC Owner and Head Coach Elhadj Cisse said, "We want to join the UPSL to give local players the opportunity to play at a higher level and play in a more competitive atmosphere. We think we're the right fit for the UPSL because these young men from around the world love the game of soccer, and most have played the game in high school and college already so giving them the chance to play in the UPSL is a chance for them to succeed further in their soccer careers."

Hichan Hikara, 36, is General Manager of Raleigh International FC. A native of Morocco, Hikara is an international sales manager for Siemens.

Nigerian Lawrence Taiwo and Wonder Nyatanga, a native of Zimbabwe, are club mentors.

Raleigh International FC will host tryouts this Fall. The club will announce its upcoming game schedule.

About Raleigh International FC

Raleigh International FC is an American Soccer club currently based in Raleigh, N.C., and a new member of the United Premier Soccer League. Raleigh International FC will play in the UPSL's Mid-Atlantic Division.

Founded in 2017, Raleigh International FC can participate in the qualifying rounds for the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup through their affiliation and membership with the UPSL, the U.S. Soccer Federation (USSF) and the United States Adult Soccer Association (USASA).

Twitter: @fcraleigh

United Premier Soccer League

The UPSL was formed in 2011 and currently includes more than 300 teams in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin. UPSL is the fastest growing Pro Development League in the USA, with 400-plus teams targeted for 2019 Fall Season. Each UPSL team is individually owned and operated, and is responsible for maintaining either UPSL Pro Premier Division or Championship Division minimum standards.

UPSL teams are all eligible to participate in the U.S. Open Cup Qualifying Rounds through the leagues affiliation with the U.S. Soccer Federation (USSF) and the United States Adult Soccer Association (USASA).

More information about UPSL can be found at or by following the league on Facebook ( and Twitter (@upslsoccer).

Contact UPSL:
Direct: 310-415-5691

Media Relations:
Dennis Pope
Direct: 951-675-3963