HARTFORD, Conn. – The United Soccer League Wednesday announced that Hartford Athletic will be the next team to join the league for the 2019 season.

Hartford Sports Group will own and operate the new club.

Connecticut’s capital joins teams in thriving soccer markets across North America as the sixth expansion franchise to become part of the USL for the ninth season of the league’s modern era.

“Hartford makes the sixth addition to the USL for 2019 and strengthens the league’s presence in the Northeast with a thriving city that boasts a rich soccer history,” USL CEO Alec Papadakis said. “The league continues to reach new heights through record attendance and additional expansion into exciting new markets. Hartford will join Austin, Memphis, El Paso, New Mexico and Birmingham as new clubs in 2019. We are thrilled to welcome Bruce, Scott and Joe to our ownership group and are excited for their vision of professional soccer in Hartford as they debut in their new home Dillon Stadium.”

Hartford Athletic will play its home games at Dillon Stadium in Hartford, which will be restored with funding provided by the State of Connecticut, through the Capital Region Development Authority, and in partnership with the City of Hartford.

“After years of planning and hard work, we are excited to officially announce that professional soccer is coming to Hartford and Dillon Stadium will be brought back to life,” said Bruce Mandell, chairman and CEO of Hartford Sports Group. “We’re proud of where we’re from and can’t wait to build a club that will energize our community and bring people together. As an organization, we’re dedicated to winning on and off the field, and we have all the ingredients for success that we’ve seen in so many other soccer cities. Let’s dream big together and use the world’s game to continue the momentum in Hartford.”