HARTFORD, Conn. - Hartford Athletic have signed Congolese winger Michee Ngalina ahead of the 2024 season, pending league and federation approval.
The former USL Championship Young Player of the Year in 2022 will reunite with Hartford Head Coach and General Manager, Brendan Burke, under whom he scored 20 goals and recorded 16 assists during the 2021 and 2022 seasons in Colorado Springs.
“I am so excited to start a new journey with Hartford Athletic and to reunite with Coach Burke. His aggressive, attacking style of play brings out the best in my game and I look forward to working together again,” said Ngalina. “We have an incredibly talented roster and are strong at all three levels. I am excited to get to work with the guys and get this club back to the playoffs in 2024.”
Ngalina comes to Hartford with 35 goals and 21 assists to his name at just 23 years old. He makes his return to American soccer after spending 2023 with Turkish second division club Göztepe Spor Kulübü, and Norwegian top flight club FK Haugesund. The playmaking winger earned the USL Championship’s Young Player of the Year award in 2022, capping off an inspiring season in which he played all 37 games while leading Colorado Springs to their first ever Western Conference Final. Current Hartford signings Beverly Makangila and Deshane Beckford were also on that 2022 team with Ngalina.
“The significance of Michee signing with this team cannot be understated. He is our biggest signing of the offseason,” said Head Coach and General Manager Brendan Burke. “Michee is a great person and an extremely gifted player with a proven track record in this league. I cannot wait to see Michee on the field in Green and Blue and look forward to welcoming him, his family and friends and the many fans across USL that enjoy watching him play."
Entering American soccer in 2018, Ngalina has put together a stellar career resume in the USL Championship spanning six seasons. Born and raised in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ngalina came to the United States as part of the elite Montverde Academy and was signed in 2018 by Bethlehem Steel, where he first worked with Brendan Burke. He entered the league in grand fashion, impressing with 12 goals and four assists in two seasons and earning a spot on the USL’s “20 under 20’ at the end of both campaigns. He signed with Major League Soccer’s Philadelphia Union in 2019, and he also spent time in MLS on loan with Los Angeles FC in 2021.
Internationally, Ngalina has earned a call up from the Democratic Republic of Congo youth national teams, competing in the 2016 Central African Football Federations’ Union (UNIFAC) where he was the leading scorer for the Leopards’ U17 squad.