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New Mexico United and the Somos Unidos Foundation Announces Addition of Academy Head Coach Luke Sanford

January 24, 2022 - United Soccer League Championship (USL) - New Mexico United News Release


Albuquerque, NM - New Mexico United and the Somos Unidos Foundation are thrilled to announce the addition of Luke Sanford ahead of the 2022 USL Academy season. Sanford, who has a long and successful history coaching at the youth, collegiate and USL League 2 levels, will serve in the role of New Mexico United Academy Head Coach.

"I would describe my coaching style as very relational," said Sanford. "I want to get to know these young players on a personal level and use the game to help develop them - not just as players, but also as people. In addition to that, we're going to make sure that the way these players develop gives them the best opportunity to achieve and grow."

Sanford grew up in High Point, NC, and is the son of a successful soccer coach. That upbringing, he says, allowed him to look at the game tactically from a young age. Sanford played college soccer at Houghton College and for Mississippi Brilla of USL League 2. Following his retirement from his playing career in 2009, and taking a year away from the game, try his hand at law clerking, he got his first coaching gig in 2011 with Charlotte Soccer Academy, a successful local youth program in North Carolina.

While working at CSA, Sanford also helped out with the Charlotte Eagles and head coach Mark Steffens, to whom Sanford credits much of what he has learned in the coaching game. Following that stint, Sanford took on a role as a grad assistant at Nyack College before moving to San Diego for a role as Assistant Coach and Recruiting Assistant at Point Loma Nazarene.

Sanford's first head coaching job began a few years later, as he took over the reins at Indiana Wesleyan. He led the Wildcats to a conference title and Elite 8 appearance in 2015 and served at Wesleyan for another four years before making the trip back to Mississippi Brilla in 2019, where he won the division title and advanced to the USL League 2 quarterfinal.


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