Why did you start the New Mexico United project?
I was interested in doing something that could have a positive impact on New Mexico, and I felt that soccer, out of all the sports out there, has this amazing power to unite and bring together people who are from the most diversified backgrounds. I grew up playing American football, [but] in 1998, when I was living in London, I decided to go to a pub to watch this World Cup game that I didn't know anything about. The pub was packed, and I was a foreigner and I didn't know anything about soccer, but I was treated like family and like I was part of it. You could have 10 different people who speak 10 different languages and pray to 10 different gods, yet they could all watch a soccer game and be communicating through that experience.
As you fast forward to present day, I just felt like that was something that could really benefit New Mexico, because we're a very diversified state; we have a lot of different groups, but we have beautiful people. I thought this team could be something that brings our state together and helps unite instead of divide.
What are some of the elements that have allowed you to pursue this team?
There are personal elements—first of all, just where I am in the stage of my life, I … had the ability to follow what is most important to me, and that's a real opportunity and gift, and I feel really fortunate to be in that position. I also think that there were some things, external elements that came together. For example, the timing is right. Given the political environment, given some other elements in terms of immigration and tension around immigration, I think that you see the United States as very divided right now, more so than a lot of people would like. And so, I think that there was an element that we could bring our state together and have something that could be positive no matter who you vote for, no matter where you're from. I also think New Mexico is ready to stand up and be recognized as a collective. I think there's a lot of negativity around the state, I think there's a lot of focus on things that aren't going well, and our state isn't always taken seriously, and I think this is about more than just soccer. This is about the people of New Mexico rising up and making a statement.
How is New Mexico United doing compared to your expectations?
field—the most simple, the most obvious is that right now, we’re undefeated at home. We’ve only lost one game. We have a chance to be in first place right now with our match on Sunday, and so I think that everyone’s really happy with how the team’s performing and the fact that we’re winning is important. We’re not going to always win, but what we’re seeing is that New Mexicans can be winners and we can put out a team that represents us in our style.
Where do you see United going in the future? I've heard that you're hoping to make enough money to build a stadium.
Is there anything else you'd like to add?
I think it's important that people know that this team is for the whole state. The [team] flag has every city, every town; all 19 Native American pueblos are on it. This isn't a team just for Albuquerque, it's for our whole state, and I think we're seeing it—people are coming from all over the state to go to these games. It's something that we can all rally behind. Whether you like red chile or green chile, you can still like United; whether you're from the 505 or the 575, it doesn't matter. Whether you're a first generation New Mexican or a 14th generation New Mexican, you can go to United.
New Mexico United vs. San Antonio FC
5:05 pm Sunday May 5. $13-$99 (not counting season tickets). Isotopes Park, 1601 Avenida Cesar Chaves, Albuquerque; newmexicoutd.com.