A sell out at Isotopes Park. That’s how the season kicked off for Albuquerque’s new professional soccer team, New Mexico United.
Although Saturday night’s match ended in a 1-1 tie, fans say the season couldn’t have started off any better. Many fans are hopeful about the future of soccer in Albuquerque.
“We’ve never had anything this cool. It’s amazing,” said Albuquerque resident Stefan Meumann. “It’s a great feeling and I hope these guys feel the same. It’s just a tie but I hope they come back better next time.”
The festivities started Saturday afternoon with hundreds of fans tailgating in nearby parking lots. That’s where faces were being painted and fans came together repping their New Mexico United flags, scarves, jerseys and more.
During the match, Isotopes Park was packed with fans in nearly every seat of the house. New Mexicans waved their commemorative flags, as a tifo and smoke grenades hyped up the crowd.
Some fans aren’t surprised by the high turnout after UNM announced it’s getting rid of its men’s soccer program.
“If anything this will show that the state still loves their soccer program,” said Albuquerque resident, Carlos Tenorio. “Maybe we can convince those guys up at UNM to bring back our program.”
“That’s been heartbreaking,” said Rhonda Harper. “But now there’s another opportunity in case UNM can’t bring back the men’s soccer team.”
There were 12,896 fans were in attendance at Saturday’s night match at Isotopes Park. The franchise had to open up extra pavilions to accommodate the large crowds.
The next home game is March 20.