The Lobos have ranked in the top 15 in attendance nationally every season since 2001, when the NCAA began keeping attendance statistics. In 2014, New Mexico ranked eighth with a total of 25,038 spectators in 11 games, and an average of 2,276 per game.
It’s no secret that the Lobos like to see the UNM Soccer Complex packed for home matches. But it’s the job of one guy in particular to get that crowd going.
His name is Travis Campbell, the director of operations for the Lobo men’s soccer program.
During games, Campbell walks around making sure that the show runs smoothly and the fans are having a good time. He carries a backpack filled with Lobo giveaways for the audience. The crowd goes wild when they hear the word “T-shirt.”
His official responsibilities include in-game promotions, organizing team meals and organizing the Lobo Soccer Academy summer and winter camps.
This is only Campbell’s second season as director of operations, but his history with the Lobos goes a few years back.
Campbell played for the Lobos from 2008 to 2012, but he admits that as a freshman he wasn’t exactly sold on being a Lobo.
“I actually tried to transfer from New Mexico,” he said, “simply because I was being a negative Nancy about every single little piece of life in Albuquerque.”
Campbell said head coach Jeremy Fishbein told him to stay for the rest of the year and decide whether he wanted to stay at the end of the spring.
“The transition wasn’t as smooth as he probably wanted,” Fishbein said. “I saw potential in him and knew that if he stuck with it, he would achieve really great things.”
Fast forward to 2015, and Campbell’s closet is now 80 percent Lobo stuff. And as fate would have it, he now works side-by-side with Fishbein.
“Every day I wake up and I’m actually excited to be going to work,” Campbell said. “To be honest, half the days I don’t feel like I’m coming to work.”
Get content from The Daily Lobo delivered to your inbox
On the side, Campbell coaches the Rio Rapids Soccer Club’s U-9, U-10 and U-12 teams.
He said coaching is his passion because he wants to help young players take their skills to another level so they can accomplish whatever goals they might have.
“I couldn’t love that any more than I do,” Campbell said. “That’s not work — that’s just fun playtime after work. Getting to hang out with kids and seeing them develop is just the greatest thing in the world.”
Although Campbell enjoys his life in Albuquerque, he got engaged in August and said he is ready to start thinking about the future.
He said he eventually wants to move back to his hometown in Phoenix, Arizona. But wherever he ends up, Campbell said he wants to keep coaching.
“If I can get to the point where I’m a director of coaching or the director of a club, I think that would be my end goal with the coaching side of things,” he said.
Fishbein said Campbell has come a long way and that he supports whatever he wants to do in the future.
“It’s been exciting working with him,” Fishbein said. “I’m proud of the man he’s become.”
Isabel Gonzalez is a sports reporter for the Daily Lobo. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @cisabelg.