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Hartford Announce Hiring of Major League Soccer Executive Founder Nick Sakiewicz as New CEO
The 21-year Major League Soccer veteran and Philadelphia Union CEO was among a small group of founding executives who helped build the league from the ground up in 1995.
Through five years and as many head coaches since Hartford Athletic’s inaugural 2019 season in the USL Championship, Connecticut's only professional franchise has seen a total of one playoff game.
Despite numerous roster overhauls, big-name signings, and various midseason moves, nothing has seemed to click for Hartford, with fans calling for front office changes to bring the success that they so desperately crave to the Constitution State.
In the midst of what is on pace to be yet another losing season — the worst in their history — that change has finally come. Hartford announced Monday the hiring of former Major League Soccer and Philadelphia Union founder and veteran goalkeeper Nick Sakiewicz, who will fill the vacancy at CEO for the club.
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A veteran of the American game since Major League Soccer’s creation, Sakiewicz was among a small group of founding executives that helped launch the league from the ground up in 1995, serving as the league’s first-ever Vice President of Commercial Sponsorship Sales. From 2007 to 2006, Sakiewicz went on to take charge of two original MLS teams as the General Manager and President of both the Tampa Bay Mutiny (1997-2000) and the New York MetroStars (2000-2006 - Now the New York Red Bulls).
In a successful 9-year stint at the helm of the two clubs saw him earn league Executive of the Year twice and take home the Eastern Conference in 2000, Sakiewickz also played an integral role in the sponsorship deals that saw the rebranding of the MetroStars to the Red Bulls. Additionally, he orchestrated the deals responsible for the construction of two of the league’s oldest soccer-specific stadiums: Red Bull Arena (NY) and Subaru Park (Philadelphia).
The long-time executive’s immense involvement with America’s top flight does not end there. In 2006, Sakiewicz co-founded Keystone Sports & Entertainment, serving as the CEO and Operating Partner of the company that ultimately became the ownership group of the Philadelphia Union, the league’s 16th expansion side that eventually began play in 2010.
It was here where he would serve as CEO until his eventual dismissal from the role in October 2015. During his time in Philadelphia, Sikewicz led the charge in the effort to build the club’s first soccer-specific stadium, then known as PPL Park. In six seasons, Sikewicz built the Union into a league powerhouse, finishing runners-up in the historic U.S. Open twice under his reign and overseeing the hiring of current head coach Jim Curtin, who has taken the team to a Supporters Shield trophy and MLS Cup runner-up in his time in charge. Additionally, Sikewicz oversaw the growth of the Union’s academy program, quickly establishing itself as one of the strongest in the league.
Following the end of his tenure in Major League Soccer in 2015 after nearly 21 years of involvement with the league’s growth, Sikewicz eventually became the fifth-ever commissioner in the history of the National Lacrosse League, a role in which he oversaw record streaming deals, attendance growth, and mass expansion in an 8-year stint from 2016-2022.
Most recently serving as the Chief Business officer of the Arizona Coyotes in the National Hockey League, the former 8-year Tampa Bay Rowdies goalkeeper (1983-1990) will now take his talents back to where it all began, looking to revamp a Hartford Athletic side who are in desperate need of change after a less-than-satisfactory first five years in the USL Championship.