Albuquerque soccer team hopes to go pro, build new downtown stadium

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ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Albuquerque’s club soccer team has a big dream. They’re hoping to become a minor league team and play in a new downtown stadium.

The Albuquerque Sol currently plays home games at St. Pius X High School.

But the team’s general manager, Larry Espinoza, said the playing field could soon be on a much larger scale.

“The big picture in mind is to go MLS by 2024,” said Espinoza.

While the major leagues are still years away, Espinoza said he plans to have the team join the United Soccer League in just two years.

“The goal has always been said in 2018 to go what’s called USL Pro, which would be the equivalent of say, the Isotopes,” said Espinoza.

With that, he wants a downtown stadium to complement their new minor league status by 2019.

“We’re not looking at anything extravagant, we’re looking at 8,000 to 10,000 seat multi-use stadium,” said Espinoza.

Espinoza said the facility would cost around $10 million. He said he already has some big investors on his side and is currently looking for the perfect spot.

“We feel that it would be a great shot in the arm for Albuquerque to have something of that sort downtown,” said Espinoza.

It’s not uncommon for minor league soccer teams to build big stadiums with hopes of one day joining MLS. Teams from San Antonio to Oklahoma City recently spent millions with the same plan as the Albuquerque Sol’s.

As for the city, they said they’re all for it.

“Any possibility that we can work with them and try to find the right spot in whatever capacity we can, we will,” said Gilbert Montaño, Mayor Richard J. Berry’s Chief of Staff.

Albuquerque Sol currently brings in about a thousand fans a game to the high school. They’ll play two games at the University of New Mexico’s field this season to try and build a bigger fan base.

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