Dillon Stadium is under construction and so is the team that will play there.
"It's a puzzle,” said Hartford Athletic head coach, Jimmy Nielsen. “You know, we have a style of play, i have an idea how we want to play and how those players fit in together."
Just as contractors have their tools, Nielsen has his. He said he’s spent the better part of the last five months watching player highlights on YouTube or calling prospects up on the phone.
But Nielsen is calm for such a big task, if only for one reason: he’s done this before. In 2014, he helped establish the Oklahoma City Energy Football Club. With that experience, he knows recruiting players is about more than their experience on the field.
"We want the people in Hartford, Connecticut to be proud of the team on the field, but we also want them to be proud of the group off the field and being a new team here we'll need a lot of help from the players out in the community,” said Nielsen.
After all, like all of Hartford professional teams of past and present, they’ll be wearing the colors of The Whale, green and blue. Colors that spark passion in the city, which Nielson said couldn’t be more fitting for a soccer team
"You know if you go to my home city, everything's red and white,” said Nielsen. “If I go to the past team in England, everything is blue and now we come here, green and blue and a great passion for the game."
The Athletic open their season in March, but will play their first eight games on the road. They plan to open Dillon Stadium on May 4th.