NEW YORK, NEW YORK (January 9, 2024) – MLS NEXT Pro today announced the addition of a new independent club to the League: Connecticut United Football Club joins MLS NEXT Pro with a target start date of 2025. Based in Bridgeport, Connecticut United is the fifth independent team to be added to the League since its inaugural season in 2022. Pending sanctioning approval by the U.S. Soccer Federation, the Club follows independents Carolina Core FC, Cleveland, Jacksonville Armada FC and Chattanooga FC.
CT United FC has been established by Connecticut Sports Group (CTSG) and its founding partner André Swanston, a longtime Connecticut resident and technology entrepreneur. The University of Connecticut alumnus and his wife Michelle Swanston are active investors in minority and women-owned businesses, among other investments, donating to education and community focused initiatives across the country.
“André has a proven track record of building transformational companies and valuing community development," said Charles Altchek, President of MLS NEXT Pro. “His leadership, entrepreneurship, and determination will be key to the success of the Club, and we are thrilled to partner with André, his wife Michelle, and the CTSG team. Today’s announcement marks a historic milestone as André takes the helm as one of our youngest club owners and breaks barriers as one of only a few Black principal owners in U.S. sports history.”
The team plans to play in a brand-new soccer stadium as part of a premier family-friendly entertainment and sports destination in Bridgeport, the state’s most populous city. The City of Bridgeport’s Planning and Zoning Commission granted Connecticut Sports Group unanimous approval to develop a waterfront soccer stadium and mixed-use destination. The project encompasses a mix of residences, retail and dining space, community greens, a river walk and a hotel.
"As CT United FC embarks on its MLS NEXT Pro journey, I want to extend deep gratitude to the incredible fans, community leaders and government officials who have embraced our vision. I am confident that, united, Connecticut can compete against anyone,” said Swanston. “We are committed to building the infrastructure – from a free youth academy to a state-of-the-art stadium – needed to propel Connecticut to the highest levels of soccer.”
The state of Connecticut has proven to be a strong hub for the sport of soccer, with consistently high television viewership and having hosted large crowds for U.S. Men’s and Women’s National Team matches in the past.
“Bringing an MLS NEXT Pro expansion team to the state of Connecticut is a tremendous opportunity to ignite the spirit of our communities, foster local talent, and showcase our state on the national stage,” said Governor Ned Lamont. “This exciting endeavor will invigorate our economy, inspire our youth, and unite our diverse soccer loving population.”
"Bridgeport is in the midst of a renaissance, rebranding from an industrial city to now the capital of arts and entertainment of Connecticut. I am proud to announce that MLS NEXT Pro will join that landscape in providing entertainment opportunities for Bridgeport residents and the region at large. I also applaud the major investments that Mr. Swanston has made in Bridgeport and his vision to bring professional soccer to our city," stated Mayor Joseph Ganim.
CT United FC is the third independent expansion team to be announced by MLS NEXT Pro in just the last two months, following Jacksonville Armanda FC and Chattanooga FC in November 2023. In late 2022 the League announced the addition of Carolina Core FC, based in High Point, NC, and Cleveland. Carolina Core and Chattanooga will both begin play in 2024, the full season schedule for which will be released in the coming weeks.
About Connecticut Sports Group
Connecticut Sports Group’s (CTSG) vision is to create unforgettable experiences that inspire communities. We will own and operate professional sports franchises and state-of-the-art venues, utilizing cutting-edge technology and data to deliver superior service. Through our innovative approach and unwavering commitment to excellence, we aim to revolutionize the sports and entertainment industry and bring diverse communities together.
About Connecticut United FC
Founded in 2024 and owned by Connecticut Sports Group, Connecticut United Football Club (CT United FC) is the fifth independent professional men’s soccer club in MLS NEXT Pro. CT United FC is targeting a 2025 launch and will call a new state-of-the-art stadium in Bridgeport its home. CT United FC embodies the indomitable spirit of our state, carrying forward Connecticut's rich tradition of sports excellence. For updates and more information, visit www.ctunited.com or follow us on social media: @ctunited on X and TikTok, @ctutdfc on Instagram.