By Robert Held
FKS Stal Mielec, a professional soccer team from Poland will be playing the Connecticut United Football Club on Saturday June 25th at Veterans Stadium as part of a Polish Festival featuring children’s activities and giveaways. Gates will open at 2pm and the game starts at 6pm. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for children. The festival will also feature traditional Polish activities and food. Connecticut United FC will also be debuting a never-before-seen mascot at the festival.
“The Polish festival is a way to try and make soccer games more family friendly,” said Connecticut United FC owner Greg Bajek.
Connecticut United FC is New Britain’s professional soccer team that plays in the American Soccer League. The team was founded in 2015 and is New Britain’s first professional soccer team since 2002. The American Soccer League serves as a way to try and advance players to higher professional leagues. Many players on Connecticut United FC have ties to the state.
Organizers are expecting a large turnout for the festival, with people coming from as far away as Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The event is sponsored not only by Connecticut United FC but also the Polonia Business Association.
The festival will serve as a test run for Connecticut United FC. However, if the festival proves to be popular than the team may have one before each home game, according to Adrian Baron, president of the city’s Polonia Business Association and a local attorney.
“I have never been to a professional soccer game, but between the festival and the two teams that are playing I am interested in going to check it all out, “said Michele Bresnahan, a Waterbury resident.
The match is taking place in the middle of the Euro Cup, which is a heavily watched soccer tournament that many Polish soccer fans in the city of New Britain keep track of. With soccer fever going around the city a game featuring a Connecticut team against a professional team from Poland might be the way to bring in new fans.
“Connecticut United FC and Stal Mielec are surprisingly, very talented teams, “said former New Britain mayor Lucian Pawlak.
Pawlak also served as president of the Connecticut Wolves, the former professional soccer team that played in New Britain from 1997-2002.
According to the official American Soccer League standings, Connecticut United FC is in 2nd place overall with a record of 6 wins, 2 loses and 1 tie. As far as their opponent, FKS Stal Mielec, won a league title this year and was promoted to I Liga which serves as a higher level of competition.