NFL, NBA, NHL stats

Hartford Athletic Announces Four More Player Signings Including Two New England Soccer Stars

January 17, 2019 - United Soccer League Championship (USL) - Hartford Athletic News Release

Hartford, CT - Hartford Athletic announced the signings of Nicky Downs (Lakeville, CT), Mac Steeves (Needham, MA), Raymond Lee (Kansas City, MO) and Nikolaj Lyngo (Aalborg, Denmark) for the Club's inaugural USL Championship season in 2019, pending league and federation approval.

The signings include two players with MLS experience, a rising star from one of the top clubs in Denmark, and a 2018 All-Ivy League player from Yale.

Nicky Downs becomes the first Connecticut native to join the club. Downs played collegiately at Yale and was named to the Ivy League's First Team in his senior season. "There is so much soccer talent in this state and region, and we have some of the best college programs in the country," said Bruce Mandell, Chairman and CEO of Hartford Athletic. "We're excited to sign our first Connecticut player and look forward to continuing to support the growth and development of the game across the state."

"I am thrilled and grateful to begin my professional career with Hartford Athletic," said Downs. "As a Connecticut native, it's so special to start my career with my local club. I am humbled by this opportunity and can't wait to bring home some championships."

Hartford Athletic has also finalized its technical staff for the 2019 season. Chris Spendlove joins Nielsen as an assistant coach and George Kostelis will fill the role of Goalkeeper Coach. Spendlove, who hails from Liverpool, coached with Nielsen in Oklahoma City from 2014-2017. Kostelis has a vast knowledge of the area, having served as an assistant at UConn, Yale, University of Hartford, and Southern Connecticut State.

As Hartford Athletic continues to prepare for its Inaugural 2019 USL Championship Season, fans can purchase their season tickets and become a Founding Member at Open Tryouts are on January 19th and 25th - fans are invited to attend for free and interested players can head to for more details and to purchase their registration.


Nicky Downs is a midfielder from Lakeville, CT who played collegiately at Yale University. He played in every single match during his 4 years, scoring 9 goals and adding 15 assists. Nicky finished his decorated Yale career being named to the Ivy League First Team, the All-Northeast Region Third Team, and the United Coaches Scholar All-America second team, while also being named a finalist for the Senior CLASS Award - the nation's Premier Award for Student Athletes.

Mac Steeves comes to Hartford from the Houston Dynamo where he was selected 43rd overall in the 2018 MLS Superdraft. Steeves played for both the Dynamo and their USL affiliate Rio Grande Valley in 2018. A native of Needham, MA, Steeves played collegiately at Providence College where he scored 35 goals, second all-time in Friars history. Steeves was named to the All-Big East First team twice during his career at Providence and in 2014 was named the NCAA College Cup Most Outstanding Offensive Player.

Defender Raymond Lee was a mainstay on Pittsburgh's league-leading defense in 2018, appearing in 29 matches, starting 24 of them. Lee was originally drafted by the Philadelphia Union in the 2015 MLS Superdraft. He earned Second Team All-Conference honors as a senior at St. Louis University.

Nikolaj Lyngo is a 20-year-old defender from Aalborg BK, which is one of the top teams in the Danish Superliga.

• Discuss this story on the United Soccer League Championship message board...

United Soccer League Championship Stories from January 17, 2019

The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.