Canadian midfielder Kembo Kibato has signed with Hartford Athletic after spending the past two seasons with fellow USL Championship club FC Tulsa. | Photo courtesy FC Tulsa
HARTFORD, Conn. – Hartford Athletic announced on Monday the club had signed midfielder Kembo Kibato ahead of the 2023 season, pending league and federation approval. Kibato has spent the last three seasons in the USL Championship with Rio Grande Valley FC and FC Tulsa.
“Hartford is a growing club and a project I am very excited to be part of,” said Kibato. “I got to witness the Hartford experience first-hand when I was playing for Tulsa last season. Coach Ramos’ style of play suits my game very well and the fans provided incredible support that gave the team an extra boost of energy. I look forward to representing the club on the pitch and can’t wait to get to work.”
Kibato joins Hartford having made 28 appearances for FC Tulsa in 2022. He signed with Tulsa after joining the club on loan from Rio Grande Valley in 2021, a successful campaign in which he made 30 appearances and 16 starts while helping Tulsa reach the USL Championship Playoffs. Kibato won Tulsa’s Newcomer of the Year award as he served as a box-to-box midfielder and recorded two goals and an assist in his second full season as a professional while playing nearly 1,500 minutes.
“Kembo has the makings of a high-quality attacking midfielder,” said Athletic Head Coach Tab Ramos. “He has a huge motor and covers a ton of ground from end to end, and we’re going to push him to attack offensively. We believe in his goal scoring ability, and we’re excited to see him on our pitch in 2023.”
A 22-year-old native of Toronto, Canada, Kibato is a product of the Toronto FC Academy, but made his professional debut in 2020 with the Toros in the USL Championship. He made 12 appearances for RGVFC during the abbreviated season, including nine starts. The Canadian midfielder scored his first professional goal against Austin Bold FC and added two assists in a 4-2 win against OKC Energy FC in Rio Grande Valley’s season finale.
“Of all the talented players we played against last year, Kembo was one who stood out to me,” said Hartford Technical Director Ray Reid. “He will help us dictate the speed and direction of the game with his ability to change levels in tempo quickly. I can’t wait to see him on the field helping us win games.”