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Hartford acquires defender Joey Akpunonu on loan from FC Cincinnati

By Staff, 02/06/24, 3:31PM EST


22-year-old was selected in First Round of 2023 MLS SuperDraft, made FCC debut last June

Hartford Athletic has acquired defender Joey Akpunonu on loan from FC Cincinnati for the 2024 USL Championship season.

HARTFORD, Conn. – Hartford Athletic announced on Tuesday the club had acquired defender Joey Akpunonu on loan from FC Cincinnati of Major League Soccer for the 2024 USL Championship season. The transaction is pending league and federation approval.

Akpunonu joins Hartford Athletic after spending the majority of 2023 with FC Cincinnati 2 of MLS NEXT Pro, making 23 appearances for the MLS-affiliate side. The 22-year-old made his MLS debut with Cincinnati on June 24th, 2023, and appeared in two Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup matches with the First Team.

“This is a very exciting next step in my career and I look forward to working with this experienced group of defenders on a daily basis,” said Akpunonu. “This is a great opportunity for me to improve while training and playing at a high level. I think we can be one of the best defenses in the USL and help Hartford win a trophy.”

“We are looking forward to integrating Joey into our experienced group of defenders,” said Athletic Head Coach and General Manager Brendan Burke. “He has real potential, and our hope is that he can grab this opportunity with both hands this year.”

A native of Toledo, Ohio, Akpunonu played collegiately at Bowling Green State University, where he became one of the most decorated players in program history. He was named to the all-Mid-American Conference (MAC) team in consecutive seasons, and following his junior season was selected with the No. 22 pick of the 2023 MLS SuperDraft, making him the first Bowling Green player to be selected in the First Round of the SuperDraft.

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