Cedar Rapids (July 8, 2020) – The Iowa Raptors Fútbol Club ownership group and
organization, are proud to bring the best league and pathway to Major League Soccer to the
great City of Cedar Rapids with the announcement of a new USL League Two franchise
coming in summer of 2021. The USL League Two has over 70 teams within its current circuit
and is recognized across North America. Our fans will have the opportunity to see the future
stars of Major League Soccer right here in Cedar Rapids.
The Club will also have a hometown feel, as we will aspire to highlight local talent within our
area. We are excited to get started in anticipation of the 2021 Season, which begins in late April
and concludes with the National Finals in early August. We hope all local businesses and our
loyal fans will support your new hometown Club. This is a groundbreaking moment for the
organization and soccer in Cedar Rapids.
The team will tentatively play in the Heartland Division which consists of perennial League
Two powerhouse Des Moines Menace in probable home and away matches. This will create a
great rivalry here in the state of Iowa. Additional teams include Chicago FC United, Green Bay
Voyageurs, Kaw Valley FC, Peoria City, St. Louis Lions, and Canada based Thunder Bay Chill
and FC Manitoba.
Additional announcements for the Club included naming Nate Grosse the Head Coach and
Chris Economides the General Manager. Grosse is currently also the head coach at Cornell
College. Coach Grosse brings more than 20+ years of experience in coaching club, high school
and collegiate soccer around the Midwest. He had a coaching chapter in Lima, Perú for 2 years
where he was part of high school and club soccer.
A Nebraska native from Omaha, where he played club and high school soccer. He attended
Truman State Univ. (MO) and was a member of the soccer team, before transferring and
graduating from the Univ. of Nebraska at Omaha. He enters his 7th season as Head Coach at
Cornell College (IA) where he is the winningest Coach in Cornell Men’s Soccer History.
Grosse has acquired multiple coaching licenses from both the United States Soccer Federation
(USSF) and United Soccer Coaches. He is in the process of attaining additional licenses. As a
fun fact, he is bi-lingual in Spanish and English.
“As a club, and specifically as a coach, I am extremely excited to join USL League Two. The
opportunity to be a part of the USL structure and offer a direct pathway for our players looking
to get to the next level is exciting. The level of play that USL will bring here to eastern Iowa is
great for the sport of soccer in this area and the community as a whole. I can’t wait for next
Spring and to get started," said Head Coach Nate Grosse.
Economides has a glorified history in the sport of soccer for over 30 years. He served as the
General Manager for the Rochester Rhinos in the 90’s, when they won the US Open Cup, and
are still the only minor league team to do so since the formation of Major League Soccer in
1996. He has worked in the Front Office of the USL, served as Commissioner of the Major
Indoor Soccer League, and recently led the Florida Tropics to both an indoor and outdoor
The United Soccer League (USL) is the largest professional soccer organization in North
America, possessing nearly a decade of experience in bringing the world’s game to
communities across the United States and Canada. Overseeing the USL Championship, USL
League One, and USL League Two, the organization is built on a proven and recognized model
in international football and counts more than 100 clubs in its membership.
Based in Tampa, Fla., the USL has grown over the past decade into a model organization with
strong corporate partnerships, stable organizational leadership, and a dedicated staff that
provides outstanding support to member clubs and outside partners. Sanctioned by the U.S.
Soccer Federation and Canadian Soccer Association, the USL is #UnitedForSoccer, moving the
game forward in the United States and Canada.
USL League Two is the defined and proven pathway for players to progress to through the
professional ranks of soccer while becoming an integral part of the community in which the
Get a first glimpse of the team this weekend live on KCRG channel 9.2 for a closed door
Heartland Super Cup with games at 4pm and 6pm Saturday and 2pm and 4pm Sunday. For
more information on the Raptors next chapter, visit our social media platforms and our