New England Soccer Today

Report: Hartford to Join NASL


Pro soccer appears to be on the verge of returning to Connecticut’s capital after a report surfaced on Monday that Hartford will be granted an NASL expansion team as early as next year.

According to Fox CT, the franchise will play its home games at Dillon Stadium, and will be named Hartford City FC.

A representative from Hartford City FC declined to comment on the report, citing non disclosure agreements with “different leagues.”

Not long after the report surfaced, the league issued a statement in regards to potential expansion to Hartford.

“The NASL can confirm that it has received ownership interest from numerous groups in the Hartford area,” read the release. “While the league believes it would be a great market for a new club, nothing has been finalized with any of the groups.”

Last month, The Courant reported that an ownership group from Hartford met with NASL officials about fielding a franchise in the city. However, NASL commissioner Bill Peterson did not go into specifics about the group, nor did he confirm whether Hartford was being targeted as an expansion market.

“I personally believe Hartford would be a highly successful market,” Peterson told The Courant last month. “It has a long track record of drawing great crowds for soccer matches, whether it’s U.S. soccer or some of the exhibitions that have been held over the years. There’s great participation and a great following for the national teams, and there’s a great following for professional teams. So we’re pretty confident that a team there in that area, put together correctly, managed correctly, would be very successful.”

On Monday, a source told that the league has been interested in the Hartford market “for some time.”

Dillon Stadium is an 80-year-old facility that is located in Hartford’s Colt Park. The stadium would require a number of renovations before serving as host to a professional soccer team.

Despite that obstacle, Peterson believes that the city would be receptive to hosting professional soccer.

“I think it’s a fantastic sports market,” Peterson said. “I think there are a lot of sports fans in the Hartford area. I like it from a business perspective because the companies that are there are very supportive of the community and teams with the community, the media companies that are there … you end up with a statewide deal.”

Hartford once served as the home to an original NASL franchise. The Hartford Bicentennials played one season at Dillon Stadium from 1975-76 before it moved to New Haven. The franchise relocated to Oakland after the 1977 season.


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