New Mexico United's players and fans celebrate their victory this past Saturday against Real Monarchs SLC, which saw 12,327 fans pack into Isotopes Park. | Photo courtesy Josh Lane / New Mexico United
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – As New Mexico’s first professional soccer team, New Mexico United has certainly stepped up to the occasion in its inaugural USL Championship season by drawing sellout crowds of over 12,000 to its home games, making the team the highest-attended team in the Western Conference.
But that success has brought teething problems for the new club, which is having to come up with ways to get fans through the gates and seated in time for opening kickoff. It’s a task Owner and CEO Peter Trevisani is taking head-on, as he and his team have every task in the launch of the new club.
“I do feel really bad for people who felt they weren't able to get in in a timely manner and they missed some of the game or some of the goals,” Trevisani told KRQE.com. “We've moved up opening the gates to 90 minutes instead of an hour before the game. So, there's a longer range to come.”
When fans have reached their seats at Isotopes Park, though, they’ve made up one of the most energized crowds in the USL Championship this season. With the club sporting an undefeated record ahead of its visit to Reno 1868 FC this Saturday, the play on the field has matched the atmosphere in the stands as well.
“This last weekend was electric,” United fan Andrew Gunn told KRQE.com. “To have a hometown team is really something special.”
NMU’s long-term goal is to find its way to a soccer-specific venue in the future, which would allow for greater control over entry for the club and hopefully help avoid the bottleneck effects that the limited number of entrances at Isotopes Park offer.
“It's going to be a multiyear process,” Trevisani said, “but we're going to start working on that now and start working through the logic, and we're going to get a stadium.”
And for now, the fans are simply more than happy to have professional soccer in their home state.
“It's totally worth it,” said United fan Dylan Cuellar. “This is very different for New Mexico, we're turning out the highest crowds for the leagues that we're in.”