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Hartford Athletic appoints Nick Sakiewicz as new CEO

By Staff, 09/18/23, 12:00PM EDT


Experienced soccer and sports executive will oversee business and soccer operations

HARTFORD, Conn. – Hartford Athletic announced on Monday it had appointed experienced sports executive Nick Sakiewicz as the club’s new CEO. Sakiewicz, who brings a wealth of experience in professional soccer, sports and entertainment will lead Hartford’s business and soccer operations.

“Nick is the perfect addition to drive the growth of Hartford Athletic on and off the field,” said Athletic Chairman Bruce Mandell. “Nick has the skills and track record of success necessary to move our club forward by building a competitive team on the field, establishing a best-in-class youth academy, and deepening our roots in the community. I am excited to see the growth of our talented front office staff as they learn from one of the best soccer executives in America.”

“As someone who has dedicated his life to growing the game of soccer in the U.S., I could not be more excited to join Hartford Athletic as passion for the sport reaches new heights throughout the country,” said Sakiewicz. “It is an incredible time to be in soccer, and I want to thank Bruce Mandell and Hartford Athletic ownership for entrusting me to lead this club. These next few years leading up to the 2026 World Cup will be the most exciting time in the history of the sport within America. Hartford Athletic will look to enhance all aspects of the fan experience both on and off the pitch, while expanding our presence in the soccer community locally, nationally and globally.”

A former professional goalkeeper for eight seasons, Sakiewicz joined Major League Soccer as a founding executive in 1995. Along with a small group of League executives, he helped launch MLS as its first Vice President of Commercial Sponsorship Sales. Sakiewicz later went on to lead two Major League Soccer teams from 1997-2006, serving as President and General Manager of both the inaugural MLS teams in Tampa and New York.

After nine successful seasons, in which he was named the League’s Executive of the Year twice (1999 and 2000) and won the Eastern Conference Championship in 2000, Sakiewicz played a key role in the record-setting sale of the NY/NJ MetroStars to the Red Bull energy drink company that included the sale of naming rights of the team and stadium (Red Bull Arena) in Harrison New Jersey. Sakiewicz engineered the deals to build two soccer-specific stadiums as part of large-scale urban redevelopments. The first was built for the Red Bulls in America’s largest market, the New York / New Jersey metropolitan area, and the second for the Philadelphia Union, serving the Philadelphia metropolitan area.

In 2006, Sakiewicz co-founded Keystone Sports & Entertainment and assembled the investors which eventually became the ownership group of Major League Soccer’s 16th expansion team, the Philadelphia Union. In just six seasons, Sakiewicz built Philadelphia into one of the League’s most successful clubs including the establishment of one of the strongest youth academies in MLS.

“Connecticut is a great soccer state and New England has a soccer-rich catchment area for player development,” said Sakiewicz. “We have a tremendous opportunity ahead of us to build a top-level youth development Academy. I have been so impressed by Hartford Athletic’s dedicated supporters and partners and look forward to connecting with them to learn how we can continue to improve.

“We are going to get the product on the field right and reward those fans for their support through some very challenging seasons.”

Sakiewicz earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of New Haven in 1983, played eight professional seasons and retired in 1990 from the Tampa Bay Rowdies, and has coached goalkeepers at the youth and collegiate levels. 

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