Published May 13, 2022
Written By:   Joe Chatz
              Central Region Contributor


Joining the WPSL as an expansion team in the Heartland Division of the Midwest Conference, Iowa Raptors FC has brought in seven international players representing three different nations for its WPSL-debut roster ahead of the 2022 season.

The Cedar Rapids-based club has secured collegiate talent from players at institutions in Iowa and Missouri – many of whom have represented their home countries on the national level on youth and senior teams. This international experience includes talent from Lebanon, Japan, and Hungary.

Get to know the latest international members of the Iowa Raptors for 2022 here:


Joya-Mari Azzi (M) Lebanon:

Azzi joins the Raptors’ roster after finishing her first year at the NAIA level with Central Methodist University in Missouri. Azzi recorded one assist in 13 appearances as CMU went on reach the NAIA national semi-final.

Nationally, however, Azzi has made a plethora of appearances for the Lebanese Women’s National Team, beginning at the U-19 level when Azzi was 17-years-old. The following year, Azzi was called up to the first team and has collected seven caps in that time.


Farah El Tayar (F) Lebanon:

Farah El Tayar will be one of the youngest players on the Raptors’ roster, having turned 18 in October. El Tayar is in her first year as a member of the women’s soccer team at Florida International University. In the 2021 season, El Tayar collected 300 minutes of playing time with nine appearances – three of which were starts.

Also in 2021, El Tayar made her senior national team debut and was featured in three matches for Lebanon WNT during the 2021 Armenia Invitational. El Tayar recorded a goal after playing 224 minutes.

Nour Noujaim (D) Lebanon:

Another youngster on the roster, 18-year-old Nour Noujaim signs on after her first season at Central Methodist University, though she has yet to make her collegiate debut.

Noujaim does however have an abundance of experience with the Lebanese WNT, where she’s played for the U-15, U-16, U-18 and U-19 teams. In 2021, Noujaim received the call-up to the senior team in 2021 and has since recorded six caps and 425 minutes. Most recently she made two appearances off the bench in the 2022 AFC Women’s Asian Cup Qualifiers.

Kitti Torak (M) Hungary:

A former midfielder and right-wingback, Kitti Torak at 23-years-old is one of the veteran players joining the Raptors’ roster. Torak finished her senior season at Central Methodist University, where she played in 24 matches (23 starts) and collected two goals and eight assists in the process. That followed up her 2020-2021 campaign, where she had 25 appearances (19 starts) with two goals and five assists.

Torak has also been a part of the Hungarian Women’s National Team at the U-17 and U-19 levels. Though she hasn’t made an appearance for her country since 2015 when she played 265 minutes over four appearances in UEFA U-17 Women’s Championship qualification.

Ayaka Matsumaru (M) Japan:

Matsumaru joins the Raptors after leading Mount Mercy University with six of the team’s 14 goals during the 2021 NAIA season. Prior to joining Mount Mercy, Matsumaru transferred from Teikyo Heisei College in Tokyo, Japan where she started all 15 appearances she made.

While the team struggled, Matsumaru scored the game-winners in their matches against Coe College and Evangel University. Along with her six goals, Matsumaru collected an assist and 22 shots-on-goal.

Ririka Kamimura (F) Japan:

Ririka Kamimura returns to the Raptors after her time during the club’s exhibition season in 2021. After two seasons at Iowa Western Community College, Kamimura recently announced she will be playing NCAA Division I soccer at the University of Kansas City-Missouri.

In her two years at Iowa Western CC, Kamimura made 31 appearances (19 starts), scoring 18 goals and collecting nine assists. Eight of her goals at Iowa Western CC were game-winners. The team also reached the NJCAA Division I quarterfinals in both seasons.

Kamimura has even dealt with her fair share of adversity after tearing her ACL during her high school senior season in Japan, before making the jump to the United States for college.