(Editor’s note: Expansion pro soccer franchise New Mexico United plays its first-ever game Saturday at Isotopes Park. Today’s installment wraps up a three-part series on things to know about the team, the league and the fan experience.)
One of the many soccer traditions imported to America from global soccer leagues are official supporter groups. “The Curse” will serve that role for New Mexico United.
According to its website, The Curse takes its name from a quote from Lew Wallace, the first governor of the New Mexico territory.
Membership costs $25 for the year and you get the official scarf. Three fans already have sprung for a $300 lifetime membership.
“You don’t have to pay any money to come cheer with us,” Curse co-president David Carl said. “We take all kinds. We welcome people from across the state. People who have never been to a match and people who are obsessed.”
The Curse reports it has 160 registered members and relies on digital marketing even without a formal marketing strategy in place. The group emphasizes building a positive welcoming, family-friendly environment working in concert with New Mexico United.
“They brought us close from the get-go,” co-president Josh Eifert said. “They helped promote us. As they’ve grown, we’ve grown.”
The group recently gathered at a local coffee shop in Albuquerque to outline its vision. Complete with a video screen and sound system, Carl walked through a powerpoint describing the group purpose and activities.
“We’re in a unique place in New Mexico,” Carl said. “A clash of cultures in the best way possible. We’re uniquely New Mexican.”
The Curse will tailgate three hours before kickoff for weekend home matches in the parking lot next to the UNM Track and Soccer Stadium. An hour before game time they’ll march to the third base entrance at Isotopes Park. Once inside they plan to march around the field waving their flags, lighting smoke bombs and singing.
“It’s an atmosphere New Mexico has never seen before in sports,” Eifert said. “We want to bring people closer to a sports team than they’ve ever been before.”
The Curse will be situated in Sections 116 and 118 along the right-field line in close proximity to one goal. Goalkeepers will be acutely aware of their presence.
“Some of the songs we have, we want to extend it beyond our sections,” Eifert said. “We want the whole crowd involved not just our sections. If people walk into Isotopes Park for fun and wander out as a fan we’ve done our job.”
UPDATE: United announced two roster additions leading to Saturday’s opener. Midfielder Tommy Madden, from Baltimore, was drafted 38th overall in the 2019 MLS SuperDraft by Orlando City and most recently played at the UNC-Charlotte. Manny Padilla, defender from Compton, Calif., most recently played for USL Rio Grande Valley FC in 2018 with 19 appearances. Prior to that, Padilla played for the MLS Houston Dynamo.