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Soccer ball in a net. Photo courtesy of Unsplash.

New Mexico United shatters the land of entrapment stereotype

The narrative of the Land of Entrapment is being challenged by New Mexico United’s team and fanbase, through the work the team does off the field.

The documentary Underdog Uprising, which highlights United’s unique and committed fanbase, will be available for streaming on the Very Local app on Feb. 28. The documentary covers the work United and its supporters do to impact their community and how they challenge the underdog identity, according to Carlos Tenorio II, President of New Mexico United’s supporters’ group, The Curse.

“We’re at the bottom of the good lists and the top of the bad lists… It doesn’t always have to be like that,” Tenorio said.

The Curse is one of United’s largest supporters’ groups, occupying southern sections in Isotopes Park. The groups are organized fan clubs, typically with an established area within soccer stadiums. 

“Last year we (The Curse) had over two-hundred people,” Tenorio said.

Leveraging their numbers, he said The Curse acts as an active conduit of community through charity work. These events include cleaning the Bosque, laundry projects, annual pride-raisers, and an upcoming food drive, Tenorio stated.

In May 2020, both New Mexico United and supporters’ groups, including The Curse organized a parade to celebrate healthcare professionals for their dedication during the pandemic. This parade included more than 100 vehicles which passed by several hospitals in downtown Albuquerque, according to The Somos Unidos Foundation.

The charity of the New Mexico United Organization, the Somos Unidos Foundation worked alongside the Heart of America Foundation to deliver 1,200 distance learning kits to the Navajo Nation in 2020. These kits included art supplies, books, STEM activity kits and personal protective equipment to fight COVID-19, according to The Somos Unidos Foundation.

Underdog Uprising also features the Academy which brought soccer opportunities to New Mexico which never had those opportunities in the past, according to the documentary.

The Academy is the highest level of youth soccer in New Mexico and the only one of its kind in North America to be completely free for every player, according to The Somos Unidos Foundation.

David Estrada, the newly named head coach for the Academy, said that some players would not be able to play if it weren’t for the financial support The Academy brings.

“The cool thing about this program is that all the players that are in our team full time have full scholarships. This means that through our sponsorships, corporate partners, and donations, they do not have to pay anything,” Estrada said.

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The Academy covers a players’ training, uniform, travel gear and travel accommodation including meal costs during competition, according to the Academy website. Many soccer programs are pay-to-play making it difficult for low-income players, Estrada said.

One of Estrada’s priorities as head coach is to not only make players better athletes but to make them better New Mexicans as well.

“It's not just a soccer program, these young men are in the community constantly running clinics and visiting schools,” Estrada said.

One clinic Estrada mentioned is United in Our Abilities. In this clinic, Academy players created an adaptive soccer camp for individuals with disabilities.

“These guys are surrounded by good people. I had guys come to me after that and say, ‘Coach, I really enjoyed that. I can't wait to do that again,’” Estrada said.

New Mexico United’s season kicks off on March 9 against the Pittsburgh Riverhounds, but for United and its fans the sport isn’t just for game days.

“It’s more than just soccer. Soccer just happens to be the vehicle for driving change,” Tenorio said.

Nate Bernard is a beat reporter with the Daily Lobo. He can be reached at or on Twitter @DailyLobo

Jaymes Boe is a beat reporter for the Daily Lobo. He can be reached at or on Twitter @DailyLobo. 

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