Hartford is joining The United Soccer League for the 2019 season. The new club, named Hartford Athletic, will be owned and operated by the Hartford Sports Group.
Hartford will be joining dozens of teams across North America in the USL for the ninth season of the league's modern era, according to a release.
“Hartford makes the sixth addition to the USL for 2019 and strengthens the league’s presence in the Northeast with a thriving city that boasts a rich soccer history,” said USL CEO Alec Papadakis in a statement. “The league continues to reach new heights through record attendance and additional expansion into exciting new markets. Hartford will join Austin, Memphis, El Paso, New Mexico and Birmingham as new clubs in 2019."
Hartford Athletic will play its home games at Dillon Stadium in Hartford. Officials said the stadium will be restored with funding provided by the state, through the Capital Region Development Authority and in partnership with the City of Hartford.
“After years of planning and hard work, we are excited to officially announce that professional soccer is coming to Hartford and Dillon Stadium will be brought back to life,” said Bruce Mandell, Chairman & CEO of Hartford Sports Group in a statement. “We’re proud of where we’re from and can’t wait to build a Club that will energize our community and bring people together. As an organization, we’re dedicated to winning on and off the field, and we have all the ingredients for success that we’ve seen in so many other soccer cities. Let’s dream big together and use the world’s game to continue the momentum in Hartford.”
The team's name came from ideas submitted by fans, officials said. Hartford Athletic is a Club by the fans, for the fans, so we listened to what was important to you. The team name and colors reflect pride in Hartford and a commitment to the community and youth,” said Mandell.
According to officials, season ticket deposits are on sale for $25. By placing a deposit, fans will be able to reserve their place in line to become a founding member. Member benefits include best seating price and location, official founding member scarf, name displayed in stadium, invitation to VIP events and insider news and access. Spots can be reserved online.