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Hartford's new pro soccer team named entering 2019

BY Gregory Seay
Joe Cooper

7/11/2018
PHOTO | Contributed
PHOTO | Contributed
A rendering of a revitalized Dillon Stadium hosting a nighttime soccer match in Hartford's South End.
The Capital City's new pro soccer club will be named the Hartford Athletic, as promoters on Wednesday announced more than 1,000 fans have committed to season tickets at Dillon Stadium.

Led by the Hartford Sports Group (HSG), the Hartford Athletic will join the United Soccer League in 2019 alongside five other expansion teams in Austin and El Paso, Texas; Memphis, Tenn.; Albuquerque, NM;, and Birmingham, Ala.

The announcements were made Wednesday morning during a press conference attended by HSG President Bruce Mandell, Jake Edwards, president of the United Soccer League; and Boys & Girls Clubs of Hartford CEO Sam Gray at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Hartford headquarters at 170 Sigourney St.

Mandell said more than 1,000 fans have agreed to purchase season ticket packages and others will be able to watch several games on ESPN.

"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," Mandell said. "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."

Formed in 2011, the USL, which is sanctioned as a Division II pro soccer league, currently has 33 teams across the nation. Clubs are located in major cities including Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Seattle, Phoenix, St. Louis, Nashville, Orlando, Pittsburgh and New York, among others in Canada.

In May, HSG put out a public call and set up a website -- USL2Hartford.com -- to collect potential names for the Hartford soccer club.

As previously reported, the Hartford city council approved HSG's lease and a publicly funded rehabilitation of the aging Dillon Stadium into an all-purpose artificial turf venue that will accommodate pro soccer and other community activities and events. Dillon's makeover is part of an overall plan to revitalize the nearby historic Colt Park.

The State Bond Commission approved $10 million in bonding to fund Dillon's makeover. It seats about 6,000 fans.