HARTFORD, Conn. – 2019 USL expansion club Hartford Athletic announced on Wednesday that Jimmy Nielsen had been selected as the first Head Coach in club history. He joins the team immediately as the franchise prepares for the start of its inaugural season next spring.
Nielsen previously coached the USL’s OKC Energy FC, leading the side from its inaugural season in 2014 to the conclusion of the 2017 season. During his four seasons with Energy FC the side reached the USL Cup Playoffs on three occasions and twice advanced to the Western Conference Final. Nielsen was a finalist for the USL Coach of the Year Award in 2015 after the Energy finished the regular season tied atop the Western Conference standings.
Prior to his coaching career, Nielsen played professionally for 19 years in Denmark, England, and with Major League Soccer’s Sporting Kansas City. While with Kansas City, Nielsen was captain, a two-time MLS All-Star, Goalkeeper of the Year (2012), and helped the club win both the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup in 2012 and MLS Cup in 2013.
New Hartford Athletic Head Coach Jimmy Nielsen lifts MLS Cup after leading the side to victory against Real Salt Lake. | Photo courtesy Sporting Kansas City
“I am honored and excited to be named the first head coach of Hartford Athletic,” said Nielsen. “We are here to win titles and make our community proud. Our promise to our fans is to leave everything out there on the field, every match. We have a lot to do to prepare for 2019, and I cannot wait to lead our Club onto the field for our first match.”
“We are thrilled to welcome Jimmy to Hartford Athletic,” said Bruce Mandell, Chairman & CEO of Hartford Athletic. “Jimmy’s passion, vision, and leadership make him the perfect fit for our Club. We look forward to building a championship tradition with Jimmy at the helm.”