MINNEAPOLIS (KRQE) – Nearly 200 New Mexico fans are flying up to Minnesota on Wednesday for the U.S. Open Cup Quarterfinal match-up between New Mexico United and Minnesota. KRQE Sports Reporter Jared Chester introduces New Mexico United’s fan club, The Curse.
“When the team was announced a little over a year ago, some of us went to go sign up for season tickets, and there was a little checkbox you could check if you were interested in being a part of a supporters group, and six people total checked that box,” President of The Curse, David Carl, said. “So, that puts us all in an email chain and it said, ‘Hey, you all checked the box. Do what you want to do. I am leaving you alone.’ So the six of us met up at a local brewery, we said we’re going to put a supporters group together, and that’s how it was born.”
The Curse has become just as notorious in the USL as The United themselves, creating a loud and exciting atmosphere at home; and David Carl knew this group was something special early on.
“I would say about two weeks before the first match, people started getting excited, and then we picked up about 100 people that week, and then after the first match, it just exploded after that. I mean, it skyrocketed, and it hasn’t really slowed down.”
The Curse now has 450 members, and that’s just the ones who pay for membership. Carl says they love being at home, as The United ranks at the top for fan attendance in the USL with nearly 13,000 per game. But their presence will be felt on the road, especially with its flight package to Minnesota.
“No other club, not just in America, but anywhere, does this—charters a plane for their fans,” Carl said.
“I’ve never seen anything, or experienced anything like it; and when you go to a place like Minnesota, they are going to have a big crowd, and to look up and see a few hundred fans from New Mexico, that’s a special feeling, and that gives you that backing that you feel you can go and get the job done,” NM United Head Coach Troy Lesesne said.
Altogether, 180 fans are flying up to Minnesota on Tuesday, but Carl says some of his members are flying on different flights, and some of them are even making the drive from Albuquerque. It’s easy to say, this team is much more than soccer to this community.
“We are a state that constantly has a chip on its shoulder. We are a state that’s constantly told we are not good enough, you are at the top of all the bad lists and at the bottom of all the good ones, and now we have something that is great. This is specifically New Mexican, specifically ours, and it’s fantastic. We own it,” Carl said.
That flight is scheduled to land Wednesday at noon. As for the big game, well that kicks off at 6 p.m. Mountain Time in Saint Paul, Minnesota. The game will also be broadcast on ESPN Plus.
Meanwhile, United fans who can’t make it to Minnesota can still support their soccer team. The city is hosting a watch party at Civic Plaza on Wednesday night. The free event features concession stands selling food and alcohol.
Fans can begin showing up at 5 p.m., but you’re encouraged to bring your own seats since a large crowd is expected.