Hartford Athletic have acquired defender Joey Akpunonu (APP-ah-no-nu) on loan from MLS club FC Cincinnati for the 2024 season.
“This is a very exciting next step in my career and I look forward to working with this experienced group of defenders on a daily basis,” said Akpunonu. “This is a great opportunity for me to improve while training and playing at a high level. I think we can be one of the best defenses in the USL and help Hartford win a trophy.”
Akpunonu joins Hartford Athletic after spending the majority of 2023 with FC Cincinnati 2 of MLS Next Pro, making 23 appearances for the MLS affiliate side. The 22 year old made his MLS debut with Cincinnati on June 24th, 2023, and appeared in two Open Cup matches with the first team.
“We are looking forward to integrating Joey into our experienced group of defenders,” said Head Coach and General Manager Brendan Burke. “He has real potential and our hope is that he can grab this opportunity with both hands this year.”
The Toledo, Ohio native played collegiately at Bowling Green State University, where he had a stellar three-year career and solidified himself as one of the most decorated players in program history. He started 42 of the 48 matches he played in, scored eight career goals, and was named to the all-Mid-American Conference (MAC) team in back to back seasons. He was one of just 44 players (and one of only 18 underclassmen) invited to participate in the Adidas MLS College Showcase, and was named to the MLS Generation Adidas 2023 class on Dec. 19, 2022. Two days later, Akpunonu was drafted by FC Cincinnati as the 22nd overall pick, making him the only Bowling Green Falcon to ever be selected in the first round of the MLS SuperDraft.
Hartford’s 2024 roster is almost complete! Watch the new squad at Trinity Health Stadium all season long by becoming a season ticket member. Secure the best seat options at the best prices at HartfordAthletic.com/seasontickets.