The New England Revolution announced today that they have completed the signing of Malian defender/midfielder Kalifa Cisse on a free transfer. Cisse, 28, last played for English Championship side Bristol City until he was unable to come to terms with the club at the end of the 2011-12 season.
"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."
Cisse began his career in Portugal with G.D. Estoril-Praia in 2005 before making the leap to top-flight soccer with Boavista ahead of the 2005-06 season. He made 42 appearances for Boavista over two seasons before making the jump to England and the Premier League with Reading in the summer of 2007. Cisse stayed with the club when they were relegated at the end of that season, playing two more years with the Royals before moving to Championship side Bristol City.
While born in France, Cisse also retains citizenship in Mali, who he has represented at the international level. Cisse has made five appearances since debuting in 2008, including matches in World Cup and African Cup of Nations qualifying.
"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 is the Revs' second signing of the off-season, joining midfielder and former Revolution standout Andy Dorman. According to a tweet from Jeff Lemieux, GM Mike Burns expects Cisse to make his impact as a defensive presence in the midfield, which will continue to create a gluttony of talent in the center of the pitch unless further moves are made.
The Revs also announced that they placed four players on waivers ahead of this afternoon's Waiver Draft. Blake Brettschneider, Florian Lechner, Alec Purdie, and Michael Roach will be available for selection by the other 18 teams in the league, and will not be returning to Foxboro for 2013.