FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The New England Revolution has signed Malian midfielder Kalifa Cisse on a free transfer from England’s Bristol City. Cisse will officially be added to the Revolution’s 2013 roster upon receipt of his International Transfer Certificate and his U.S. P-1 Visa, and he will occupy an international roster spot.
Cisse, 28, most recently played at English Championship side Bristol City and has a total of eight years of professional experience in Europe. He is the second off-season signing the Revs have announced this month ahead of 2013, joining the announcement of Andy Dorman’s re-signing last week.
“We’re very pleased to add a player of Kalifa’s stature and experience, having played in the top divisions in Portugal and England,” Revolution General Manager Michael Burns said. “We were fortunate to have him in for a training period a few weeks ago, and not only did his quality show as a player, but we had the opportunity to see his interaction with our players and coaches. We believe he has the ability to make a significant impact on our club, both on and off the field, in 2013.”
"Once I decided to leave Bristol City it was important to take my time and make sure the next move was the right one," Cisse said. "A number of European clubs were interested, but as soon as I met the Revolution coaches, the team and the staff, I could see everyone has a winning mentality. I felt everyone was going in the same direction, so it was an easy decision for me to sign here. I've come to New England to make an impact and help the team win titles."
Cisse began his professional career in Portugal with GD Estoril-Praia on Jan. 3, 2005, following a youth training stay at France’s Toulouse. He made six appearances with GD Estoril-Praia, before moving to Portuguese Liga club Boavista ahead of the 2005-06 season. Cisse made 42 appearances for Boavista, spanning two seasons, before moving to England and signing with Reading FC – which was entering its second-straight season in the Premier League – in the summer of 2007. He made his Reading (and EPL) debut on August 15, 2007, in a home loss to Chelsea, and recorded his lone Premier League goal on Dec. 29, 2007, in a 6-4 loss to Tottenham Hotspur.
Cisse played three seasons for Reading, including two years in the Championship after the team was relegated following the 2007-08 season. He scored seven goals and added two assists in 76 total appearances, including a goal against Wolverhampton Wanderers during the 2008-09 season that was voted the club’s goal of the year.
After three years in Reading, Cisse moved to Championship side Bristol City in the summer of 2010, where he played the last two seasons, making 61 appearances and scoring two goals.
A dual citizen of France and Mali, Cisse has earned five caps for the Mali national team. He made his international debut on June 22, 2008, when he came on as a substitute against Sudan in a FIFA World Cup Qualifier. He also appeared against Liberia on Oct. 9, 2010, in an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier, as well as in friendlies against Congo (Nov. 17, 2010), Ivory Coast (Feb. 8, 2011) and Tunisia (Aug. 10, 2011). Cisse also appeared at the 2003 FIFA World Youth (Under-20) Championship for Mali.
Transaction: New England Revolution (MLS) – Signed M Kalifa Cisse
Pronunciation: kah-LEE-fuh SEE-say
Date of Birth: January 9, 1984 (Dreux, France)
Hometown: Dreux, France
Weight: 180 lbs.
Previous Club: Bristol City (ENG)
Nationality: Mali, France
How Acquired: Signed by the Revolution on November 19, 2012
Jersey Number: 4