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Hartford Athletic signs young Cameroonian Pele Ousmanou

By NICHOLAS MURRAY -, 02/07/24, 12:25PM EST


19-year-old joins club on long-term deal from Elite Falcons FC in the United Arab Emirates

HARTFORD, Conn. – Hartford Athletic announced on Wednesday the club had signed defender Pele Ousmanou to a long-term contract ahead of the 2024 USL Championship season. The transaction is pending league and federation approval.

The 19-year-old Cameroonian comes to Hartford after spending the 2023 season with Elite Falcons FC of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Football Association. He played a total of 1,130 minutes across 13 matches and scored one goal.

“I’m excited to begin this journey in American soccer,” said Ousmanou. “I want to thank Coach Burke for giving me an amazing opportunity to prove myself at such a high level and play the game I love.”

“Pele is very versatile technically and can play multiple positions across the back and in midfield,” said Athletic Head Coach and General Manager Brendan Burke. “He has a very high IQ from a positional standpoint and great range of passing. We expect that he will challenge our otherwise experienced group of defenders right away.

“It is vitally important that USL continue to identify, develop, and promote top teenaged talents that will go on to play at the highest levels of soccer worldwide. We feel like we are contributing to that push with this promising young player.”


Hartford Athletic has added plenty of experience to its back line for the new season with the likes of Thomas Vancaeyezeele, Jordan Scarlett and Joe Farrell, but Pele Ousmanou figures to be one to watch as his development path brings him to the club.

In his time as part of the Philadelphia Union organization, current Athletic Head Coach Brendan Burke’s squad at Bethlehem Steel FC included similar prospects, including Olivier Mbaizo, who not only graduated to the Union’s First Team but has become a fixture in Cameroon’s senior national team including being part of the squad at the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

That’s obviously the best-case scenario for Ousmanou in the next few years, but the experience he’ll gain with Burke and the experience around him could produce another talented prospect that has the potential to move to higher levels.

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