When bringing you guys this series it is hard to find a club that we all should know but don’t. The sport has grown so much in the past decade here stateside.
While people may know that there are many levels of the sport here, and might know some of the clubs. You might not know all the clubs at all the levels and might find another club to love. Such is the case with Hartford City FC of the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL), an amatuer league.
Hartford is in the very picturesque state of Connecticut. The New England region which the state sits in, is also very lovely no matter the time of year. They are also in a part of the country that has a rich history in the sport. Just search the old American Soccer League (ASL), or the college talent that has come out of the area.
Connecticut is very close to Boston, and to New York City, so it can draw from many different areas for players and fans. The University of Connecticut is also well known for their sports, and the campus is not too far away.
The club was founded in 2015, and there was supposed to be an indoor team and a team in the old North American Soccer League (NASL). However, neither came about partly because the ownership group could not secure a place in the indoor game, and the NASL falling apart. So the debut year was pushed back several times, until they kicked off in 2017 in the regional Atlantic Division’s White Conference. The name, trademarks, copyright and logo were bought by local businessman Aaron Sarwar.
They played their first match against Kingston Stockdale in May 2017 in a friendly, and won 3-1. They kicked off their season just five days later against Seacoast United Mariners at Hartford’s home field of Central Connecticut State University Field (CCSU).
In American sports, all teams get the chance to play in the play offs, because we are big on participation trophies. Hartford finished third in their Conference with a 5-3-4 record. They ended up beating New England rivals Boston City to reach the conference finals. They ironically went on to lose to the same club they played their first match, Kingston Stockdale.
Hartford City are known as the Colts, and have their own supporter group called the ‘Agents of Hale’ who sit in the south end of the stadium. They travel to away matches in an RV, named the Bucket. The club is averaging 800+ fans a match. Unlike other countries, Hartford City do not have the chance to move up through the leagues.
The United States Soccer Federation (USSF) does not believe in promotion or relegation, or clubs that do not buy into the official boys club. Likely, promotion and relegation in its truest form will not come, and the pyramid in the country will never have the same shape or benefits to that of the rest of the world.
This is a much debated topic online, and there are many people who have weighed in on it, on both sides. I have as spoken on it many times, and it can be searched on Google what my views are. As a result, Hartford City will likely always be a regional club but will continue to attract fans.