To the south and west of Paris, France is a small industrial suburb. Les Ulis is a young French town, incorporated in 1977, though its history stretches back to the Bronze Age. It could be just another gritty suburb of a major city, forgotten and overlooked, except for its strong soccer history.
Les Ulis is the origin of global icons Thierry Henry, Patrice Evra, and Anthony Martial. For a town with a population of 2,000, that is a figure that could only be written in the cosmos of soccer lore.
Martial is of particular interest to our readers. His first club was CO Les Ulis, a tiny sporting club whose men’s soccer team plays in the French 5th division. Martial shot up through the ranks quickly from CO Les Ulis to Lyon, then to AS Monaco, and now with Manchester United at just 24.
Tacoma Defiance offers Abdoulaye Cissoko a different path, but the Frenchman’s ambition is the same as his countrymen who have come before him. Cissoko started with Les Ulis, moved to San Diego Zest of USL League, 2 and was signed by Tacoma Defiance in 2019. Last year Defiance loaned Cissoko to San Diego 1904 of the NISA, a 3rd tier league in the USA.
Defiance Coach Chris Little said that loan was so that the 18-year-old Frenchman would be able to ease into life in the United States.
“He’s from a different country and a new language and those sorts of things, so we had a loan agreement with San Diego 1904 to try to help that transition.”
Now 19, Cissoko is still filling out his tall frame. At 6’3” and 163 pounds, he is large and small at the same time. While his size is intriguing, what Defiance like about him is his skill on the ball. Centerbacks who are keen with their feet are key to how the organization plays.
“For his physical profile, he’s got very good feet. He’s good on the ball and composed, which is an important quality for a centerback in our club. Those are the big things that attracted us to him. He’s still very young. We think he’s got a lot of growth to do physically. It’s exciting to see his development and journey with us this year.”
If Taylor Mueller is the hardened veteran who has seen things, Cissoko is the man of mystery. Aboudlaye is full of potential and promise – a necessary addition to the adventuring party, if only because no one knows how great he can become.
“We’re looking forward to getting him in our environment and teaching him our style of play and the demands. Looking forward to seeing what he can bring to the team. We’re very excited about his potential.”
There is something in the waters and streets of Les Ulis, the factory-town. We know what that’s like – the Puyallup and the Duwamish have fueled greatness for years. There may be a bit of mystery around how Cissoko will play with Defiance, but we know one question that will be answered. We’re a city where destiny becomes reality through Defiance.
The first 1,500 fans at Opening Night will get mini Flags of Defiance. Come early to get the Men in Black started off right. If you don’t have tickets yet we’ve got specials for you, including a Party Deck ticket for just $35 with an all-inclusive BBQ buffet and beverages.