By Aaron Tomich/NPSL.com
Recognizable to just about every Hartford, Connecticut native, the Colt Armory can be spotted towering tall from any vantage point, where even drivers speeding up and down Interstate-91 have a perfect view of this Historic Landmark District.
Sitting atop the historic Colt’s Manufacturing Company factory, the Blue Onion Dome structure stands as an iconic figure of the city. That same image, with the same intention to preserve the historic nature, can be found in the crest of NPSL’s Hartford City Football Club.
“This is a building unique only to Hartford across the entire country,” said Hartford City FC Director of Football Nick Balistierri. “When the original design was produced, we knew that it was at the heart of the club and something that we could never change.”
“It [Colt Manufacturing Company] basically shaped that entire neighborhood where it is,” said Hartford City FC Owner Aaron Sarwar. “That whole neighborhood was molded by the Colt family. It’s Hartford’s history, it’s who we are.”
Since its founding in 2015, Hartford City FC has always wanted to focus on the club’s community identity. To best incorporate community, the Blue Onion Dome became a primary symbol in the crest. Also included in the crest is the image of a colt, the team’s official mascot – yet another allusion to the historic company that put the city on the map.
“We think five playing seasons is monumental; some teams don’t reach five years. Every year, more people in our community recognize who we are,” said Balistierri. “The pendulum is swinging, and there was a lot of on-the-field success last year, and we want to build on that.”
That concept of identity and pride within the city was a value that club ownership wanted to emphasize when creating the brand and the face of the team. When refreshing the crest, Balistierri focused on putting the name up to the forefront.
Correlating the dome with the team was a main focus for the emblem refresh, and a particular emphasis was placed on making sure the name of the club became synonymous with that symbol as well. With the new crest, “Hartford City Football Club” is in bolded, white lettering found in the middle ring of the emblem.
“Throughout the entire process, we were walking step-by-step with our supporters groups and their leadership,” said Balistierri. “Together, we agreed that this would be a representation of us going forward into the future.”
Balistierri said that this refresh acts as a commitment to the fans for the next five years of the club’s existence and that it will continue to grow and strive to become an impactful part of the soccer and general community within the city, on and off of the pitch.
Following a successful 2021 season, where the Colts 6-2-2 record placed them atop the North Atlantic Conference, where they went on to capture the conference championship, ultimately reaching the East Region Semifinals. The club knows it wants to ride that wave of momentum for the next five years, starting in 2022.
“We are conference champs and we set a bar that we all knew was attainable,” said Sarwar. “We’ve made multiple playoffs runs and we finally clinched the conference. So that conference title definitely set a benchmark for us that we at least have to get there next year. That’s got to be the mentality, that we just have to take it further.”
Success on the pitch has been seen through continually attracting local talent, winning games and titles and creating a national footprint for Hartford City. Off the field, the club knows it has an impact from strong ties with local partnerships and an emphasis on community outreach. All in all, both Balistierri and Sarwar know the emblem refresh comes at the perfect time for Hartford City FC.
“We want people to know how long we’ve been involved in the community and active as a club,” said Balistierri. “While we haven’t played every year, we’re still providing the same playing opportunities to Connecticut players now and in the future. That’s the idea behind the refresh.”