N.M. Welcomes Its First Pro Soccer Team

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N.M. Welcomes Its First Pro Soccer Team

Juan Alvia, Author

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For the first time in its history, New Mexico now has a professional soccer team, the New Mexico United. The team will be playing in the second division of the United Soccer League Championship. The club was founded in June of 2018.

The team is especially welcome in the state since UNM is cutting the men’s soccer program. Due to budget concerns, in July the governing board of UNM approved cutting off three sports programs: women’s skiing, women’s beach volleyball, and men’s soccer. The team played this year, and the university has promised to continue scholarships of the affected student-athletes through their graduation, but UNM will no longer be an avenue for aspiring soccer players in the state.

According to Wikipedia, New Mexico United (NMU) is one of seven expansion teams slated to join the USL for the 2019 season. NMU hopes to “grow the state’s economy, employ New Mexicans, uniquely marry art and sport, and show the world that New Mexico is the land of hope, vision, opportunity and pride.”

The team also made a collab with the creators of Meow Wolf, whose name will be on their new jersey as their sponsors.

For a fresh new team, where do they get their players from? According to Troy Lesesne, head coach and technical director, the players come from various leagues and divisions across the world. “We recruited few players from colleges, but the majority of our players we signed were already in the pro leagues,” he said.

Lesesne spent the previous four seasons with USL Charlotte Independence, where he helped the team qualify for the playoffs in 2016 and 2017. He spent the 2014 season with the Vancouver Whitecaps, serving as an assistant coach and liaison with the Charleston Battery as part of their MLS/USL affiliation. The Battery finished the 2014 campaign fifth in the regular season standings, which clinched a playoff spot for the club.

The team had open tryouts before the season started, and they won’t be looking for any more players until after the first season. “We will review on what we need and after that we will have tryouts,” Lesesne said. “Just look on our website our social media. We will update it to make sure everything will be clear to the upcoming players.” Information can be found at https://www.newmexicoutd.com/