HARTFORD, CT (CelebrityAccess) — The City of Hartford and the United Soccer League announced that Connecticut’s capital would have a new professional soccer team in 2019, as part of the league’s expansion.
Hartford Athletic will play its home games at Dillon Stadium in Hartford, which will be restored with funding provided by the State of Connecticut, through the Capital Region Development Authority, and in partnership with the City of Hartford.
Plans for the new team was announced by Bruce Mandell, the president and CEO of Hartford Sports Group and Jake Edwards, the president of the USL at a press conference on Wednesday (July 11th).
“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.
“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,” he added.
The USL already has other teams in the region, including the New York Red Bulls II, as well as two teams in Pennsylvania — The Pittsburgh Ravens, and Penn FC.
“I think this is huge for the entire city of Hartford, I think it’s huge for the state of Connecticut,” Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin said during the press conference “It’s obviously huge for the Coltsville area.”
“Now you have this historic Dillon Stadium that’s going to be brought back to life, both as a community asset and as the home to a USL soccer team. It’s really significant, because you can see, if you look at the Yard Goats, the hunger and appetite for professional sports,” Bronin added.
News of the state’s investment in professional soccer comes even as the state navigates dire fiscal straits. The state legislature’s nonpartisan Office of Fiscal Analysis warned that the state is currently on track to face a budget deficit of more than $2bn by November 2018 and $2.6 billion in November 2019.