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Hartford Athletic signs experienced midfielder Jay Chapman

By NICHOLAS MURRAY - nicholas.murray@uslsoccer.com, 11/27/23, 12:25PM EST

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29-year-old has won MLS Cup with Toronto FC, helped Switchbacks reach playoffs last season


Hartford Athletic has signed midfielder Jay Chapman, who made 28 appearances for Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC this past season. | Photo courtesy Isaiah J. Downing / Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC

HARTFORD, Conn. – Hartford Athletic announced on Monday the club had signed midfielder Jay Chapman ahead of the 2024 USL Championship season. The transaction is pending league and federation approval.

Chapman comes to Hartford having competed for fellow Championship club Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC in 2023. In his first full season in the USL Championship, Chapman made 28 appearances and 20 starts, recording one goal, one assist and 20 chances created. He made his biggest impact gaining possession and creating scoring chances off turnovers for the Switchbacks, logging 25 interceptions and 26 tackles won, the second-most on the team.

“Bringing in a player of Jay’s caliber is a tremendous addition to our club,” said Athletic CEO Nick Sakiewicz. “He is one of the most experienced players in the USL and knows what it takes to win a championship at the highest level of U.S. soccer. He will bring a balance of experience, skill and a winning mentality to some of the younger talent we are bringing in this season.”

Analysis

Jay Chapman’s resume speaks for itself – he’s made more than 100 appearances in Major League Soccer, including playing for hometown club Toronto FC. With the Reds he helped the side win MLS Cup in 2017 and appeared in the Final of the 2018 Concacaf Champions League when The Reds fell in agonizing fashion to Chivas de Guadalajara. He’s also made three appearances for Canada at the senior level.

What Hartford is banking on is a return to that level as it looks to reconstruct its roster. Certainly, Chapman offers a solid building block of the sort that Hartford didn’t truly seem to have last season – a No. 6 that can win possession and distribute efficiently. At the same time, Chapman wasn’t the first-choice for the Switchbacks behind USL Championship veteran Speedy Williams. Per American Soccer Analysis, his +1.33 Goals Added Above Replacement ranked well below Williams (+4.84) and up-and-comers like Birmingham Legion FC’s Matthew Corcoran (+2.23).

That makes this a season in which Chapman will need to prove himself again in order to lift his new squad.

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