Nicky Downs ’15 Signs with Hartford

Former Hotchkiss soccer star Nicky Downs ’15 may be going pro, but he won’t be far away. This January, Downs signed with Hartford Athletic, an expansion team in the United Soccer League. After four-year soccer careers at Hotchkiss and then Yale, Downs will be staying in Connecticut even as he moves on to the next level of athletics.

In Lakeville, Downs was valuable not just for his talent but also for his leadership. He earned Varsity honors for all four of his years at the school in both soccer and track, serving as co-captain of both teams in his Senior year. He was also awarded the Lucien Swift Strong ’40 Memorial Award for loyalty, leadership, and fine spirit the same year.

After his college career, Downs continued to excel as a midfielder for the Yale Bulldogs. He earned all-Ivy honors three out of his four years, and this year he was designated first-team all-Ivy for the first time. His five assists this season tied him for second in the Ivy League, and the Bulldogs enjoyed their first winning season in nearly a decade, finishing 7-6-3.

Downs also shone off the field. He was nominated for the NCAA CLASS award, given to a collegiate athlete who “use[s] their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities.” Due to his performance on the field, 3.83 GPA, and community service with the Right to Dream program and local soccer clinics, Downs was one of just 30 nationwide nominees for the award. Yale Head Coach Kylie Stannard praised Downs’ work ethic and love of the game. Stannard said, “He has been incredibly committed to making this dream become a reality and has worked relentlessly with passion, discipline, and determination to get to this point.  He has absolutely earned this great opportunity.”

At Hartford, Downs will be the sole team member from Connecticut. He expressed excitement at the prospect of playing for his home state’s team, saying, “It’s so special to start my career with my local club. I am humbled by this opportunity and can’t wait to bring home some championships.”

He isn’t the only one excited by the prospect of playing for a local team. Letty Roberts, instructor in math and Downs’ mother, said, “I am thrilled for Nicky that all his hard work has paid off. He is humbled to be playing professionally, and the fact that it’s so close to Hotchkiss is icing on the cake!”

Downs and the rest of the Hartford Athletic squad will play their very first game on March 9 against Atlanta United 2.