Meet Hartford Athletic, Connecticut’s Pro Soccer Team
Only weeks away from one of Connecticut’s most anticipated sports games of the year and this pro soccer team is ready to call Hartford home.
On May 4th, Hartford Athletic will play their first-ever home game… an experience that will bring together thousands of families, fans, residents and those alike.
We recently interviewed some members of their team to get an inside scoop into what you can expect their Home Opener Game to be like, some fun facts about their key players, their team dynamic and more.
& don’t forget to purchase your game tickets here!
What does the team hope to see from the fans at the first home game?
We want our first match to be something people here remember and talk about for a long time. We’re excited to be playing at Pratt and Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field because it gives us a chance to break the attendance record for an expansion club in our league.
We are ready to #RocktheRent and bring our whole community together. We’re also creating a festival atmosphere for all our matches before, during, and after the game – a cultural experience that fans in Connecticut haven’t seen from a pro sports team before. That comes from the energy and excitement of the fans and our commitment to make our City and State the best place to live, work, and play.
We want our fans to jump, yell, and party for the full 90 minutes and make Hartford Athletic matches a can’t miss event.
Give us some detail on who is the local star and who hails from far away?
Our roster has 8 international players, 5 of whom are from Denmark, the home country of our Head Coach Jimmy Nielsen. He has great connections back in his home country and has brought some great talent over here. Our team captain, Midfielder Philip Rasmussen is from Denmark, as is starting Left Winger Sebastian Dalgaard, starting Midfielder Mads Jørgensen, starting defender Nikolaj Lyngø, and starting Goalkeeper Frederik Due. The roster also boasts several New England players Lakeville’s Nicky Downs, who just completed his senior season at Yale, Mac Steeves from Needham, MA, and Klisman Sousa from New Bedford, MA.
Who is the youngest player and the oldest player?
The oldest player on the team is Jose Angulo. Jose is 31 and has a decorated USL career, winning MVP honors in 2013. He is also the second leading goal scorer in league history, just 8 goals out of first place. The youngest player on the team is 20-year-old Mads Jørgensen.
What are some of the best nicknames on the team – and where did they come from?
Best nickname actually goes to our Team Administrator “Mijo” who works tirelessly to make sure our players and staff have everything they need to be successful.
What local watering hole does Hartford Athletic like to frequent?
Hooker at Colt is a taproom that is right by the stadium. We had a watch party there for our first ever match and the place was packed shoulder to shoulder with 300 fans. We also have pub partnerships with City Steam Brewery, 2nd Bridge Brew Co, and TK’s American Café with more to come.
What is the funniest thing that’s happened to you since you’ve been part of Hartford Athletic?
“When we were in Florida for preseason, Coach Nielsen made everyone sing the National Anthem of their home country or the fight song of their college. Nicky Downs had to sing the Yale fight song in a BJ’s somewhere in Florida. People were yelling at him to stop, it was one of the highlights of the trip.” – Alex Dixon
Coach: What have been some of the most noteworthy challenges and successes of being coach of Hartford Athletic to date?
I think the team has come together quite nicely and being an expansion franchise, I count that as a big success. Everyone gets along quite well, and the chemistry continues to develop with each day. The players are figuring out each other’s habits and tendencies on the field as well which we expect will translate into more success.
Going on the road for 2 months in a row, combined with the quality of the teams we’ve played has been our biggest challenge. Seven of the eight teams we play in the first two months would make the playoffs if they started today. It’s already very difficult to do well on the road, but to play the top teams on the road for two months straight is brutal.
How do you feel you have bonded as a new team so far?
“We’re bonding incredibly well so far. I think Jimmy and the staff have been huge in creating a great environment where people are comfortable but also pushing each other. We have a smaller team with only 21 guys signed and that’s big in our favor. I’ve been on teams with 30-plus people and it’s a little bit harder for everyone to jell. Everyone’s getting along well, getting to know each other off the field, and I’m really happy with how the team’s getting along and how we jell.” – Tyler David
Who is the team clown that gets everyone going?
“It’s definitely Mads (Jørgensen), but he doesn’t know it.” – Frederik Due
What’s the first thing you’re going to do after you win your first home game?
“We’re going to run over to the fans that have Rocked The Rent and thank them for their constant support these past two months. We know how much this team means to the people of Connecticut. We’re excited to give them what they deserve.” – Wojciech Wójcik