New Hartford Athletic signing Thomas Vancaeyezeele has twice previously been voted to the USL Championship's All-League Team and has made 130 appearances in the league overall. | Photo courtesy Matt May / Tampa Bay Rowdies
HARTFORD, Conn. – Hartford Athletic announced on Thursday the club had signed defender Thomas Vancaeyezeele ahead of the 2024 USL Championship season. The transactions is pending league and federation approval.
A two-time USL Championship All-League selection, Vancaeyezeele comes to Hartford having made 130 appearances in the league across the regular season and playoffs, logging more than 10,000 minutes of action. The French Guiana international began his career with Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC in the 2018 campaign and spent three seasons with the club while earning All-League Second Team honors in 2019, and All-League First Team honors in 2020.
“Building from the back with a defense that not only knows how to defend but also knows how to start the attack is a huge point of emphasis for our Club going into 2024, and I am thrilled to welcome Thomas to be part of that group,” said CEO Nick Sakiewicz. “He’s an experienced, proven winner in multiple teams and one of the most consistent defenders in this league over the years. His versatility playing across the defense and in the midfield will bring a lot of optionality and we are excited to see him in Green and Blue.”
More recently, Vancaeyezeele competed for San Diego Loyal SC, Birmingham Legion FC and the Tampa Bay Rowdies, while also competing in France for FC Bassin d'Arcachon. He has also made eight appearances for French Guiana, including in Concacaf Nations League and Concacaf Gold Cup Qualifying.
Thomas Vancaeyezeele’s return to the USL Championship with Hartford Athletic is a signing with major upside for the club if the 29-year-old can make a return to the form that made him an essential part of Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC for three seasons after moving into the professional ranks. A versatile player, Vancaeyezeele will likely slot in as a defender for the Athletic, but can play as a holding midfielder as well in the same vein as the departed Conor McGlynn.
Vancaeyezeele made his reputation as a sterling ball-winner while in Pittsburgh, posting duel success rates above 56 percent and tackle success rates above 71 percent in all three of his seasons with the side, while recording 214 clearances, 460 recoveries and 179 interceptions in 84 appearances across the Championship’s regular season and playoffs. If that’s the player Hartford is getting, this is a very strong signing indeed.