Hartford Athletic has signed defender Joe Farrell, who has made exactly 200 regular season appearances in the USL Championship regular season in his career. | Photo courtesy Chris Cowger / Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC
HARTFORD, Conn. – Hartford Athletic announced on Monday the club had signed veteran defender Joe Farrell ahead of the 2024 USL Championship season. The transaction is pending league and federation approval.
Farrell comes to Hartford as one of the Championship’s most experienced players. Entering his ninth season in the league, the 29-year-old has made exactly 200 regular season appearances in the USL Championship, logging 15,398 minutes of action. This past season at Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC, Farrell made 27 appearances and 18 starts and played an important role as the Hounds claimed the Players’ Shield for the first time.
“Joe is an experienced center back with a strong pedigree in this league. We are thrilled to add him to our defensive unit in 2024,” said Hartford Athletic CEO Nick Sakiewicz. “He is comfortable on the ball, excellent at winning possession on balls in the air, and is smart in his distribution when starting the attack from the back. He will bring stability to our back line and be one of the leaders of our defense this season.”
Farrell began his professional career with the Rochester Rhinos, where he earned Championship All-League Second Team honors as a rookie in 2016. Farrell went on to spend five outstanding seasons with Phoenix Rising FC from 2018 to 2022. He made 96 starts and anchored their back line, helping lead them to Western Conference titles in 2018 and 2020. Rising FC conceded less than 45 goals in all but one season of Farrell’s tenure, and landed in the bottom 10 in goals conceded three times with him at the center of their defensive efforts.
Joe Farrell’s arrival at Hartford Athletic is the next move in the overhaul the club is undertaking to try and become a contender in the 2024 season, and his experience should help Hartford achieve more defensive solidity after a campaign in which the side conceded a league-high 79 goals in 34 games.
Farrell has been a consistently strong player on the ground in his career in the Championship – this past season, he won 75.9 percent of tackles and 65.1 percent of duels for Pittsburgh – and checks in with career marks of 61.7 percent duel success and 73.1 percent tackle success. That and his organizational skills should make him a valuable part of Hartford’s back line next season.