By Joaquin Gonzalez / NM News Port
New Mexico United, is now evaluating the season that ended. First-year head coach Zach Prince met at least one goal set at the beginning of the season – the team made it to the playoffs, where they beat Colorado Springs. They were able to qualify for post-season competition with a string of three vibrant games against LA Galaxy II, Las Vegas Lights Football, and RGV Fc Toros. Still, things didn’t end well in the quarter-finals, as NM United’s season ended in defeat in a late October match with the Sacramento Republic.
Record 51 points
David Wiese-Carl, the team’s Director of Communications and Fan Experience, said the team should be proud they had their best performance in history – getting the highest-ever points total and highest-ever goal differential.
This comes after a rough two preceding years. Before the pandemic, the club drew some 12,000 fans per match on average, but at the depths of the COVID response, the club could not even play at home.
Wiese-Carl says at the end of the day; the team measures its success by how well it has brought New Mexicans together as a community.
“Soccer is the vehicle, the medium that we use to have a positive impact on our community, and we care about impacting the community first and playing soccer second.” David Wiese-Carl said.
Accomplishments and challenges since 2018
New Mexico United was established in the USL Championship league for the 2019 season. They were instant heroes in Albuquerque, where their home field is shared with the baseball team, The Albuquerque Isotopes.
Despite strong fan support, the team failed to get the citizens of Albuquerque to vote for a stadium bond measure in 2021 that would have financed a city-owned field built almost exclusively for soccer. 65% of the voters voted NO to building an $80 million stadium, which would have cost the team about $900,000 yearly for rent.
NM United owner Peter Trevisani interpreted the vote not as a rejection of the team or a stadium but as how to pay for it.
“Back in November, there was a vote that didn’t say no to a stadium. It just said no to that funding mechanism for a stadium being led by the city,” Trevesani said last May. “We heard what the people said, we’ve been working on it really hard – I think in the next month or two, we’re gonna make some exciting announcements.” KRQE News 13.
Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller said the city gave it a good shot, but the voters had other priorities.
“We respect the voters’ decision,” Keller said. “We appreciate everyone on both sides who took part in the vigorous conversation over the past months and showed up to decide this important issue for our city.” ABQ News.
The club is proceeding with private funding to finally get a stadium for the team and the fans in Albuquerque. Wiese-Carl said planning for financing and construction is underway. They are still trying to identify the location before getting blueprints because they need to know the physical space to begin architectural drafts.
He says a stadium will help advance the team’s vision.
“The goal of our team is to bring people, to bring the New Mexicans together in ways they’ve never been brought together before,” Wiese-Carl said.” So that’s been our goal since day one. “
He says the club looks forward to the team’s future next year, where they would like to get into the playoffs again and host one of those matches for the first time. Also, the team will evaluate which players are coming back, such as defender Sergio Rivas who has played more than 1,400 minutes this last campaign.
Wiese-Carl shared that once the club has that in place, it will be on the coaching staff and the players to set other specific goals ahead of the 2023 season. But one thing remains primary.
“We are excited to continue to bring in new people,” Wiese-Carl said.