Hartford Athletic signs Liberian defender Joel Johnson 

By: Naneka Hoffman 

USL Championship side Hartford Athletic have signed defender Joel Johnson ahead of the 2022 season, pending league and federation approval.  

Johnson is a proven veteran of the USL Championship, as he comes to Hartford after spending an impressive six seasons with former USL Championship club Charlotte Independence. 

Dating back to the 2016 season, he played over 12,000 minutes across 146 games for the club. 

In 2021, he even added three goals to his already notable track record as a defender. 

“I’m incredibly excited to start this new chapter with Hartford,” said Johnson. “It’s been great getting to work with Coach Watling and the guys throughout the preseason. 

They’ve been incredibly welcoming and I can’t wait to get out on the pitch with them tomorrow against Pittsburgh.”

Prior to entering the USL Championship, the Liberia international spent a season with Real Jaén of the Spanish Segunda Division B, making 16 appearances and recording 1,267 minutes. 

“Having admired Joel in many games against him last season, we made it a priority to make this signing,” said Hartford Athletic head coach Harry Watling. 

“A player with a fantastic skillset & experience at many levels, we see Joel being one of the stalwarts of our side for the 2022 season. 

He brings us excellent delivery and great defensive play, it’s another signature we are delighted to attain.” 

Born in Spain, Johnson joined Valencia CF’s youth system at an early age and progressed through the ranks, making his professional debut with Valencia B at 17-years-old. 

He would go on to make 69 appearances for the Spanish third division side, recording 3,440 minutes from 2009-2012.

 The club opens the 2022 home schedule on April 2nd at 7 PM against Atlanta United.


The New Dawn is Liberia’s Truly Independent Newspaper Published by Searchlight Communications Inc. Established on November 16, 2009, with its first hard copy publication on January 22, 2010. The office is located on UN Drive in Monrovia Liberia. The New Dawn is bilingual (both English & French).
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