HARTFORD, Conn. – Hartford Athletic announced on Thursday the club had signed midfielder Ian Shaul to a USL Academy contract prior to the 2024 USL Championship season. The transaction is pending league and federation approval.
Shaul is Hartford’s first Academy signing of 2024 and is the youngest player on the current roster. As a USL Academy signing, the 18-year-old will retain his NCAA eligibility while training and competing for Hartford in the USL Championship and Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. Shaul is committed to compete at the University of Notre Dame.
A native of Saint Paul, Minn., Shaul competed for Minnesota United’s Academy in 2018 before joining the Portland Timbers Academy in 2020 at just 14 years old. He made his MLS NEXT Pro debut with Timbers 2 in 2022 and was subsequently named a starter for the Western Conference in the 2022 MLS NEXT All-Star Game in the summer. That same year, Shaul was called up to the U17 U.S. National Team Camp in Chula Vista, California.
“Signing a player as young and talented as Ian is massive for our Academy,” said Head Coach and General Manager Brendan Burke. “Few players his age have his level of quality and experience. We expect him to compete for minutes on our first team and be a prime example of the talent that can develop rapidly through the professional environment that we provide.”
Shaul has made 24 appearances for T2 in MLS NEXT Pro over the past two seasons. He made 11 starts in the past campaign while recording a passing accuracy rate of 86.2 percent alongside 11 chances created. Shaul also recorded 13 tackles at a 76.5 percent success rate while also making 49 recoveries and two interceptions.