As a child, Joe spent many weekends with his father at Dillon Stadium in Hartford watching soccer. In recent years, the stadium had fallen into disrepair and was a blight on the neighborhood and the city. When Joe’s son approached him about developing The Hartford Athletic professional soccer team and bringing Dillon Stadium, now Trinity Health Stadium back to life, Joe jumped on board right away. Working with two friends, Bruce Mandell and Scott Schooley, Joe created The Hartford Sports Group, with the goal of bringing an expansion United Soccer League Championship Club to Hartford in 2019. “We understood Hartford because we are Hartford. Each of us has raised families, built businesses and contributed to the community we love. We also recognized the power that soccer can have in our community. The Club aims to make our city, state, and region proud, and, in doing so, make Hartford the best place to live, work, and play.” Joe said.
Joe’s goals were simple: work with his son, create a point of pride, entertainment and excitement for the city of Hartford, and give back to the community that has given him so much.
Thousands of people have attended games over the past four seasons and are so grateful that Joe spent those weekends at the stadium and felt passionate to bring soccer to Hartford.
Joe received Watkinson’s prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award in 2020.