UPSL Division I


ELP Brands Acquires UPSL with Vision to Play a Vital Role in U.S. Soccer

ELP Brands Boasts Partners With Thirty Years of Expertise in the Game of Soccer, Finance Industry, Sports & Entertainment
Published Jun 18, 2020

Miami, FL (June 18, 2020) — In 2011, Leonel Lopez, a Mexican semi-pro soccer player, formed a new local soccer league in Orange County, CA. The United Premier Soccer League (UPSL) is now the largest adult league in America and is being acquired by ELP Brands. Rapid growth has brought over 300 teams and a presence in 32 states nationwide. The league now sits just below the professional tiers of MLS and USL, acting as a pro-development platform for players, coaches, and team owners. It is the first national league to implement a promotion/relegation system for its member clubs. The UPSL's 10,000 players have a diversity of origins, with over 40 countries represented. Spread across all corners of the USA, the UPSL helps to bring communities together in support of their local club in towns like Lakeland (FL), Savannah (GA), and Santa Barbara (CA). The current National Champions, Maryland Bobcats from Montgomery County (MD), are a testament to the league's diversity. Not only are they a minority-owned club, but their roster includes players from ten different African nations.

ELP Brands founder/ CEO, Graham Walsh, and COO Luin Frazier have 30 years of experience in finance, investments, sports and entertainment licensing, and revenue generation. Walsh, with a history playing soccer, was at Manchester United as a teenager, represented his country at England Schools U18 level, and went on to play at Cambridge University - captaining the varsity team in the victory over Oxford in 1984. After graduating Trinity Hall, Cambridge with a degree in Economics, Walsh set soccer aside and pursued a career in finance joining Salomon Brothers in New York and later managing the $2B global macro hedge fund Prologue Capital. Frazier has held leadership roles for some of the biggest names in the Sports and Entertainment industry, including The Walt Disney Company, IMG Worldwide managing the ESPN activations, Univision, and the National Basketball Players Association.

"The UPSL is already important for soccer in America with its accessibility, diversity, and inclusiveness, but the journey is just getting started," said Graham Walsh, founder, and CEO, ELP Brands. "In a country this size, there is huge demand and great potential. We provide access to playing time and a range of ideas which the professional game here is not deep enough to provide. In Europe and South America, the lower leagues form part of the game's fabric, and each local club can tie a community together. The clubs feed players and coaches, referees, and owners into the professional game, and this is now happening in America through the UPSL. There is an Alexi Lalas and a Jamie Vardy in the UPSL now. Our job is to attract more attention to them and to strengthen the platform that Leo {Founder} and Commissioner Yan Skwara have built."

In addition to UPSL serving as a stepping stone for many athletes looking to turn pro, former U.S. Men's National Team (USMNT) players have also found a home in the UPSL, with several of them using it as an avenue to advance towards their coaching careers.

"I am proud to be affiliated with UPSL, which provides high-level competition year-round," said 16-year soccer veteran and U.S. soccer Hall of Famer, Paul Caligiuri. "While the UPSL was not around during the time I was a player, it has greatly benefitted me as a coach of the Orange County FC. In my 40+ history with the game of soccer, I have never seen a better league that provides the best platform for player development and offers multiple opportunities and op-tions for players who want to take that next step."

UPSL recently announced that the delayed 2020 spring season would start in a condensed format beginning Saturday, June 20, and incorporating only the states, counties, and municipalities where organized soccer is allowed. Optimistic that play will be allowed in Florida, Texas, Oklahoma, Georgia, Arizona, Colorado, Utah, Idaho, and South Carolina, other states will be subject to ongoing developments. All locations are subject to change with little notice.

About ELP Brands

ELP Brands is a holding company focused on both early-stage and well-established brands that sit at the intersection of Fashion, Sports, and Entertainment. In 2019 ELP acquired JT Racing USA, the iconic motocross and BMX brand with 50 years of heritage. For more information about ELP Brands, log on to

About UPSL

The UPSL was formed in 2011 and currently includes more than 300 teams nationwide. The UPSL is the largest Pro Development League in North America. 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 the U.S. Soccer Federation (USSF) and the United States Adult Soccer Association (USASA). More information about UPSL can be found at or by following the league on Facebook (, Instagram (@upslsoccer), and Twitter (@upslsoccer).

Katie Moses Swope
MoSwo PR