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Nick Sakiewicz Addresses Media For First Time as Hartford CEO
“I don’t need a job. This is not a job, this is a project that I’m quite passionate about because it’s my sport, and it’s with good people that I connected with.”
After nearly 30 years behind the scenes of the growth of Major League Soccer, Nick Sakiewicz has returned to the state where it all began to take on a new challenge: leading Hartford Athletic to success.
Just hours after the announcement of his hiring as CEO on Monday, Sakiewicz spoke to a packed media room sporting Hartford colors for the first time.
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“I’m not here to change anything, I’m here to add stuff,” Sakiewicz said. “I’ve got a lot of years under my belt of stadium development, club management, youth development…Adding to the mix of assets for Hartford in the development of youth players and youth academies is pivotal.”
An alum of the University of New Haven, where he played goalkeeper for four years before enjoying a 9-year professional career with the Tampa Bay Rowdies, Sakiewicz had admiration for the organization that represents his home state. From the fan experience to the on-field performance, Sakiewicz cited one key aspect that he feels is crucial to building a successful club.
“I want to add sustainability and consistency,” he said, when The Blazing Musket asked about the club’s various head coaching changes in the last five years. “If you look at any successful club anywhere in the world, good people need time to get momentum and get what I call their “sea legs” in this business. I’ve learned in my career that when you hire really good people, and you huddle them up to develop a plan and give them time to execute that plan…good things usually happen.”
Off of the field, Trinity Health Stadium has long played host to one of the better atmospheres for a club who hasn’t seen long-term success on the pitch. The club lead the USL Championship in sellouts last season, and regularly fill the stands despite holding a league-worst four wins on the season in 2023. This has not gone unnoticed by the former Philadelphia Union founder and CEO, who had his sights set on improvements to the in-stadium experience.
“I think that there’s thing that we can add to the stadium to make the fan experience [better], I think we’re gonna be really, really focused on fan experience,” Sakiewicz said. “Not just in the stadium infrastructure itself…but the on-field matters as well…These guys here [the Bonanza] also deserve more, as do the fans in the stands.”
While Hartford’s record falls well short of inspiring, the experienced executive was quick to point out the admiration he has for club leadership, and the potential he sees in the Green and Blue.
“It’s every person in the company, from the kitman straight to the ownership. We need consistency and stability. We’ve got some good people in this club, there’s no question about it…There’s some talent here, they just need to resources and stability to execute.”
Ultimately, Sakiewicz regarded the Hartford job as a “project” — one that he did not need to take on, but rather one he is undertaking out of a passion for the sport that gave him everything.
“We want to be one of the best, most admired clubs that there is. We belong to a global marketplace…We are members of a global universe off 200+ countries that play the game, thousands of clubs and millions of players, and we want to be known as getting it right no matter what level we play on.”
If Sakiewicz’s words are anything to go by, brighter days are ahead for the Green and Blue.
You can watch the full press conference below: