MLS NEXT Pro announced on Tuesday the addition of Connecticut United Football Club as the league's newest independent club. CT United FC joins MLS NEXT Pro with a target start date of 2025.
Based in Bridgeport, the club 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 have 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.”
CT United FC are the third independent expansion team to be announced by MLS NEXT Pro in just the last three 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.