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NMUA 2021 Wrap-Up, Looking to 2022 and the Future

January 16, 2022 - United Soccer League Championship (USL) - New Mexico United News Release

Going into 2021 there were many uncertainties. Our youth sports were paused like many other things in our lives. Throughout 2020 the fan support did not waiver for New Mexico United. It reaffirmed that our fans were going to cheer the team on even if it meant supporting from afar. In 2021 we were presented with an opportunity to begin a new chapter in providing opportunities for young players in our home state. The New Mexico United Academy was announced, and the goal was and continues to be the pursuit of the success that was set by the first team.

We had challenges along the way, but our young men stayed the course and embodied the club ethos of Hard-Work, Humility and Diligence on and off the field. One example being, after a long trip to Louisville and a couple of tough matches, most of the group showed up to help run a clinic at West Mesa Community Center the day after the long trip. Our Academy players gained valuable lessons this past season at the United home matches volunteering as ball managers. They were able to witness the beautiful community support. Thanks to our fans and community, they are able to see the importance of what they represent every time they wear the United shield.

Our trip to the playoffs in Tampa, Florida was an opportunity to uphold the belief that we could compete amongst the best in the country. We were scheduled to play 3 games in 3 days and a potential fourth game if we finished in the top two spots of our group. The game of football is one that is result driven but in our Academy we want the team to focus on implementing our style of play.

We dropped our first match against Queensboro FC from Queens, New York City. We had plenty of chances but were not sharp in the final third. They took advantage of their opportunities and we lost that match 2-0. In our second match, we faced Southern Soccer Academy out of Marietta, Georgia. In this match, we were much more clinical in the final third and came away with a convincing 3-1 win. In our last group stage match, we faced a tough Weston FC out of Weston, Florida. It was an intense match that resulted in a 1-1 draw, and each team took a point.

These results put us in the third-place match, which was to be played at the Tampa Bay Rowdies. We faced Charlotte Independence, from Charlotte, North Carolina. This team went undefeated in their conference and it was set to be one of the most difficult opponents to date. We went down early in the game, but this did not deter our players. We were down 1-0 at halftime. We again stayed the course and stuck to our Ethos. Collective and patient movement of the ball allowed us to then have moments of brilliance in the final third from Christian Nava and Aaron Cisneros. Our defensive effort was astounding and we came away with a 3-2 victory. We had four players named to the 1st and 2nd all-tournament team and Christian Nava was named the Tournament MVP.

These young men are a true reflection of the New Mexico spirit. Throughout the year they were resilient and stayed together during the most challenging times. We want to take this moment to thank every single individual and organization that helped us create this platform to provide this unique opportunity for the youth in this state. With your help, The Somos Unidos Foundation was able to cover the costs of each of our players. We consistently remind them that they have an entire city and state rooting for them. With your help, we look forward to continuing a tradition of success that goes far beyond the field.

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