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Letter from Chairman Bruce Mandell to the Fans

By Bruce Mandell, 05/22/20, 2:30PM EDT


Dear Fans,

I hope you and your families are staying healthy and safe. While this has been a difficult time for everyone, it has also provided an opportunity to reflect on how special our fans, partners, staff, and players are. We greatly appreciate your constant support and energy, which continues to drive us to build the team and community asset you deserve. As the state begins to reopen, we are working closely with the USL League Office and fellow USL Clubs to safely return to the field this year for our fans. In the meantime, here are a few exciting updates that we wanted to share with you:

  1. Fan Engagement: We are providing deeper access to our fans through engaging content including the twice-a-week Fitness Series presented by Trinity Health of New England (we have the fittest fans in the league), behind-the-scenes sessions with players and coaches, and a significant amount of eSports action. Make sure to follow us on our social media channels: InstagramFacebookTwitter, and YouTube.
  2. Community Platform Enhancement: We are growing our community presence by adding to our year-long community engagement platform. We have recently kicked off the High School Team of the Week presented by The Hartford and will be launching a Veterans and Diversity Hiring Expo, a STEM Education Day, and a Kindness Challenge.
  3. Youth Soccer Development: We are expanding our youth soccer platform that focuses on creating professional pathways for boys and girls throughout the state as well as providing educational opportunities for players, coaches, and parents of all levels. We are stepping up to play our role in making Connecticut a dominant development area for youth soccer. We continue to build a strong relationship with the Connecticut Junior Soccer Association in addition to premier and town clubs across the state. This next phase also comes on the heels of our youngest ever signing of Alfonso Vazquez, a 17-year-old from Windham County and Connecticut’s all-time leading boy’s high school goal scorer who was identified through our 2020 Open Tryout. Stay tuned for more to come on our youth soccer platform.

We started this project four years ago with the goal of creating something special for Connecticut and Greater Hartford. Our first season saw many great milestones including bringing historic Dillon Stadium back to life to host our matches and over 50 community events. Our fans delivered an incredible atmosphere (and tailgating culture) at Dillon – which has become known as Fortress Hartford. 
We continue to strengthen our organization on the field as well. With the addition of Paul Buckle as our Technical Advisor and Radhi Jaïdi as our Head Coach, we have raised the bar even higher. Formalizing our partnership with Southampton Football Club has solidified our on-field soccer management, and this growing partnership brings us great knowledge, players and coaches on an ongoing basis.
Yes, COVID-19 has interrupted our season, but in many aspects, it has given us the opportunity to strengthen our Club. We cannot wait to get back on the field to deliver top-class, winning soccer to our amazing fans in a safe environment.
The USL continues to move forward with plans to reschedule matches this summer, and we will be in touch as more information becomes available on the 2020 season. To our Season Ticket Members, thank you for your patience, commitment, and flexibility. Please know that we are working hard to find solutions in the best interest of our great fans. If you have any questions, comments, or ideas please feel free to contact me at or reach out to any of our talented Front Office staff members.
Stay safe, stay strong, stay informed, and thank you for always rising to the challenge with us.

Bruce Mandell
Chairman, Hartford Athletic

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