HARTFORD, Conn. (June 3, 2020) - Hartford Athletic announced today the launch of a robust Youth Soccer platform as well as its entry in the 2021 USL Academy Cup.
The USL Academy Cup is a competition designed to bring together top youth prospects from all USL markets and centered on identifying and developing players with the potential to reach the professional level. Hartford Athletic will participate in the 2021 USL Academy Cup and will host tryouts to identify the best talent to compete under the Hartford Athletic banner. Hartford Athletic coaches will lead the team, and more information will be provided in the coming weeks on tryouts and the selection process.
The Youth Soccer Affiliate program – also announced today – has been developed following discussions with town youth soccer programs and premier clubs over the past year. Town travel and recreational clubs can become an official affiliate at no cost and receive special access and experiences including player appearances, ticketing and merchandise discounts, educational programs, opportunities for aspiring coaches and more. As part of Hartford Athletic’s evolving professional pathway, premier clubs will also be offered an affiliation opportunity. Hartford Athletic recognizes the great work being done by both town and premier club programs in developing players and looks forward to continuing to collaborate. Premier clubs will also be provided opportunities for players that include the USL Academy Cup as well as attending practices and learning from Hartford Athletic players and coaches.
“Providing opportunities for youth players and coaches underpins Hartford Athletic’s mission, and this commitment to grassroots soccer and providing a professional pathway is the driving force behind why we have launched our Youth Soccer Affiliate program,” said Hartford Athletic Chairman Bruce Mandell. “We have worked hard to cultivate a strong relationship with CJSA, Town, Travel and Recreation representatives and premier clubs across the state and strive to support Connecticut in its trajectory as a dominant state in the development of soccer players. As the pro club in Connecticut, it's important for us to participate in this growth and provide pathways for players of all levels to go deeper and get greater access to the professional level.”
"As Connecticut's professional soccer team, Hartford Athletic has listened to local clubs and are working hard to get closer to the youth game to help build the game,” said Connecticut Junior Soccer Association Executive Director, Josh Krusewski. “The inclusive club affiliate program will provide needed support, positive educational opportunities, and more to those clubs that choose to participate. Should clubs wish to participate, there will be many ways to enhance the overall soccer experience at the local club level."
The launch of Hartford Athletic's Youth Soccer Platform follows key milestones including the Club’s youngest ever signing in 17-year-old Alfonso Vazquez – the Connecticut high school boys’ all-time leading goal-scorer from Windham, CT – as well as Hartford striking a formal partnership with English Premier League side Southampton FC who is globally recognized for its player development prowess.
Hartford Athletic and Southampton FC continue to deepen their relationship with Southampton FC’s support of Hartford’s youth programs for both boys and girls. Future opportunities include bringing educational experiences to coaches and players, partnering on camps and clinics, and providing select players and coaches with the chance to travel to Southampton to experience the Southampton Way and its world-class facilities.
“We’re delighted to be developing our partnership with Hartford Athletic and to create a range of opportunities that will complement their Youth Soccer Affiliate program,” said Mark Abrahams, Southampton Football Club Director of Business & Community Development. “We see synergy between Hartford’s vision and the Southampton Way and look forward to working with the Hartford community directly in Connecticut but also in the UK in the future.”
For towns and clubs interested in learning more about how they can get involved please contact Lily Donatelli (firstname.lastname@example.org).