United Premier Soccer League Announces Atlanta's VaHi ATLetic FC as Southeast Expansion Team
Founded in 2004, Atlanta (Ga.)-Based Pro Development Club Joins the UPSL
By: United Premier Soccer League
Based in Atlanta (Ga.), VaHi ATLetic FC will begin UPSL play in the Southeast Conference Atlanta Caribbean Division, and host its home games at DeKalb Southeast Athletic Complex (5845 Hillvale Rd., Lithonia, GA 30058) in compliance with UPSL's Minimum Standards.
United Premier Soccer League Commissioner Yan Skwara said, "Atlanta continues to shine for the UPSL, and we're pleased to welcome VaHi ATLetic FC to the Southeast Conference. The club has established itself from a neighborhood team to something much more cohesive and growing. We wish VaHi ATLetic FC success as it prepares to kick off this season."
Shortened from The Virginia Highlands Football Club, 'VaHi ATLetic FC' pays respect to the neighborhood (Virginia Highlands) and city (The ATL) that spawned such an upwardly-mobile club.
VaHi ATLetic FC General Manager Felipe Lobelo said, "There's a lot of interest in soccer and a lot of soccer going on in Virginia Highlands, and from the beginning our approach has been to try to replicate the international model and concept of a neighborhood team going through the ranks of different divisions. So the UPSL is exactly what we've had in mind and we're very excited about it."
A native of Colombia, Lobelo started as a player and has been with VaHi ATLetic FC since its inception. Now 40, Lobelo is a physician practicing preventative medicine in Atlanta and serves as the club's General Manager.
VaHi ATLetic FC was a recent semifinalist at the Georgia Adult State Cup, and has consistently placed near the top of the table in the Atlanta Development Soccer League (ADSL).
"It took us 10 years to get from Division 3 to Division 2 and Division 1 in the ADSL, where we've been the last few years," Lobelo said. "When we heard about the UPSL, it's exactly what we've been trying to do – get into a league with a national footprint."
Silviu Raducu serves as the club's Assistant General Manager. Andre Bomar is the club's Director of Communications & Media Relations.
VaHi ATLetic FC plays its season opener against Atlanta Generals FC at 3 p.m. ET on Sunday, May 13.
About VaHi ATLetic FC
VaHi ATLetic FC is an American Soccer club currently based in Atlanta, Ga., and a new member of the United Premier Soccer League. VaHi ATLetic FC plays in the UPSL Pro Premier.
Founded in 2004, VaHi ATLetic 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).
United Premier Soccer League
The UPSL was formed in 2011 and currently includes more than 170 teams in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, 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 200-plus teams targeted for 2018 Spring 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 www.upslsoccer.com or by following the league on Facebook (www.facebook.com/