FC Cincinnati Become Latest MLS Academy to Join UPSL, 12th MLS Club to Join League

20230618 FCC2vsNEII Match 166

The United Premier Soccer League (UPSL) is proud to announce that FC Cincinnati Academy has joined the league, becoming the 12th MLS club to join the league. Based in Cincinnati, Ohio, the club will join the UPSL’ s high-competitive KY-TN Conference which already includes MLS club St. Louis City SC.

Founded in 2015, the club has been playing in the MLS since 2019 and are currently first in the MLS Eastern Conference standings—leading the MLS overall in wins and points. The team currently has six MLS players on the first-team roster who have been signed through the Academy. FC Cincinnati Director of Player Development, Larry Sunderland spoke about the role the UPSL will play in the club’s first-team development.

"The FC Cincinnati Academy takes immense pride in helping young players move to the professional ranks. Our commitment to player development, comprehensive training programs, and challenging competition is the reason we searched out the UPSL.

“Our decision to join the UPSL reflects our commitment to providing the best possible development opportunities. The challenge of the league will provide our academy players with an excellent development pathway as they learn from the demands and nuances of playing against more experienced opponents."

UPSL Vice-President Christian Vallejos spoke about the excitement surrounding FC Cincinnati joining the league. “We are very excited to welcome FC Cincinnati to the UPSL. Cincinati are currently the best team in the MLS and their commitment to player development aligns exactly with our vision for developing pros for the next level. FC Cincinatti are joining a very competitive conference and we look forward to seeing what they can do in the UPSL.

FC Cincinnati are set to make their UPSL regular season debut this Fall in the KY / TN Conference. Current Spring KY / TN Champions, Tennesse Tempo, are representing the conference in the UPSL National Playoffs Round of 16. For more information regarding both, please visit

About FC Cincinnati

FC Cincinnati is a Major League Soccer team playing at TQL Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio. Originally founded in 2015 by Carl H. Lindner III and Co-CEO Jeff Berding, FCC began play in the United Soccer League (USL) in 2016. FCC entered MLS as the 24th team in 2019. The club’s wide and diverse ownership group is led by controlling owner Lindner III; as well as managing owners Meg Whitman and Dr. Griff Harsh; Scott Farmer; and George Joseph.

FC Cincinnati opened the clubs privately funded, 26,000-seat soccer-specific TQL Stadium in the West End neighborhood of Cincinnati in 2021, a venue which has won numerous global awards including the World Football Summit Best Venue 2022 in Madrid and the 2022 Prix Versailles World Title in the Sports Category in Paris, France. 

The club earned its first MLS Cup Playoffs berth in 2022, advancing to the Eastern Conference semifinal as the no. 5 seed. The club won the 2018 USL Regular-Season Championship in record-setting fashion and earned postseason berths in all three of its USL seasons. In 2017, FC Cincinnati also advanced to the semifinals of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, a run that included victories over two MLS squads.

About United Premier Soccer League  

The UPSL was formed in 2011 and occupies the unofficial fourth tier of US Soccer. Across its Premier, Division 1 and Women’s leagues there are more than 400 teams competing nationwide. The UPSL is now the largest Pro Development League in North America and is a National Affiliate member of the U.S. Soccer Federation (USSF). Each UPSL team is individually owned and operated. UPSL teams are eligible to participate in the U.S. Open Cup Qualifying Rounds through the league’s affiliation with USSF. 

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

Contact UPSL: / Media: