HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) – A big weekend is in store for Hartford Athletic.

The Hartford-based professional soccer franchise will play their first game at the newly revitalized Dillon Stadium.

Channel 3 spoke with players and the head coach, who say they can’t wait for Saturday’s big game.

“We’re just excited to be in our new home,” said Jacob Lissek, goal keeper for Hartford Athletic.

Hartford Athletic will play their first game at Dillon Stadium Saturday night in front of thousands of fans.

“We know it’s going to be loud, we know it’s going to be tight,” said Kyle Curinga, Hartford Athletic defender.

Channel 3 spoke with some of the players before the team walked into Dillon Stadium to practice on the field.

“I think everyone is itching to get back in front of our home fans and have a good go of it Saturday,” said Nicky Downs, Hartford Athletic midfielder.

For Connecticut native and Hartford Athletic midfielder Nicky Downs, this is a dream come true.

“To kind of get my first chance in the pro game in the home state makes everything even a bit more special,” Downs said.

As the countdown to the game is on, there is a final push to get the stadium ready.

Channel 3 was told the work is 85 percent don’t.

“it’s unfortunate we weren’t ready May 4, but here we are July 13. We’re ready to go,” said John Ponziani.

Stands were being power washed, areas were being paved, and finishing touches were being made to the locker room.

“There are still some things that will need to be finished, but all of those things will improve the fan experience,” Ponziani said.

Anyone attending the game will want to head to Hartford early for several reasons. Tailgating starts at 2 p.m. and there will be plenty of fun for the whole family.

The game is also just one of seven events happening in the capital city.

Tens of thousands of people will be there throughout the day.

To get around easier, Hartford police said to take exit 27, Brainard Road, to make your way to Dillon Stadium.

There will be officers assigned to the stadium for extra security and to help with traffic.

Everyone is being encouraged to arrive early.

“They made a lot of amazing history in that stadium, and now it’s time to make some new history,” said Jimmy Nielsen, Hartford Athletic head coach.

The game begins at Dillon Stadium on Saturday at 5 p.m.

Copyright 2019 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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