Hartford Athletic has found its new leader on the pitch.

Former MLS All-Star and Oklahoma City Energy FC coach Jimmy Nielsen has been tapped to lead Hartford Athletic in its inaugural season.

Nielsen previously coached Oklahoma City, a United Soccer League expansion club, from 2014-2017. Nielsen was a finalist for the 2015 Coach of the Year Award after the Energy finished the regular season in a tie at the top of the Western Conference standings.

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As a player, Nielsen spent 19 years between clubs in Denmark, in England and in the United States. With Sporting Kansas City, Nielsen was a captain, a two-time MLS All-Star, and Goalkeeper of the Year in 2012. He also saw his team win the U.S. Open Cup in 2012 and the MLS Cup in 2013.

“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.”

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Hartford Athletic will begin play in the USL during the 2019 season. The team will host its home matches at Dillon Stadium.