Academy grad Touche signs to play for United

Alex Touche can legitimately say playing for New Mexico United was a long-term goal.

Granted, United’s franchise history amounts to just two seasons. And yes, Touche was rather busy during that span, studying and playing Ivy League soccer at Penn.

Alex Touche

But Touche, an Albuquerque Academy graduate who officially signed with United on Tuesday, pictured himself playing for the hometown side even before its first USL Championship match.

“I was interning at New Mexico United when it all started,” Touche said in a Zoom media conference Tuesday. “I got to meet Coach (Troy) Lesesne and was able to do some training with the team. So when I decided not to play a fifth season at Penn, this was a natural fit.”

There’s certainly a comfort level involved. Touche and his twin brother, Charles, became fixtures on the local soccer scene after relocating to Albuquerque from their native London as 9-year-olds. They helped Rio Rapids SC win state championships in 2014 and ’15 and won back-to-back state titles at Academy in 2015 and ’16. They also played for Albuquerque Sol in the USL League 2.

But Alex conceded he’s been a New Mexico United fan since the club’s inception, watching matches and imagining himself competing in front of his hometown fans – one in particular.

“My family’s super excited to have me home,” he said. “My grandma is my biggest fan, so after we get her vaccinated and everything, it’ll be great to have her in the stands at Isotopes Park.”

Alex Touche has established himself as an elite defender, playing primarily at center back during his career. He was first-team All-Ivy League in his final two seasons at Penn (the Quakers did not compete in 2020 because of coronavirus concerns) and was named Ivy League Defensive Player of the Year in 2019.

But Touche also has the ability to finish and capitalize on his 6-foot-3, 190-pound frame. He scored eight goals at Penn, four of them match-winners.

“I do like set pieces,” Touche said with a smile.’

He enjoys defense as well and looks forward to working with United’s returning center back, Kalen Ryden, who earned all-league honors and was NMU’s defensive player of the year in 2020.

Lesesne said Touche’s aptitude for the game was part of the reason he pursued the former intern.

“We had him in to training that first season,” Lesesne said, “and he was able to take in so much so quickly. It was impressive. Of course, Alex attended the Wharton School of Business, so he’s miles ahead of the rest of us. He’s super intelligent.”

Touche is the fifth new player to sign this offseason and will join former club rival and Sol teammate Sergio Rivas on the 2021 United roster. Touche’s brother, Charles, plays men’s soccer at Cornell.

Share Your Story

Nativo Sponsored Content

Ad Tango

taboola desktop


In a tough season, manager Schaeffer has steadied the ...
ABQnews Seeker
Luis Barrera legged out an infield ... Luis Barrera legged out an infield single with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning on Aug. 23 in Las Vegas, Nevada. ...
Prep football: St. Pius wins another close one
Featured Sports
Talk about a team in dire ... Talk about a team in dire need of a bye week. St. Pius on Saturday afternoon was involved in the type of football game ...
Follow live: Lobo football at UTEP, COVID hits UNM ...
The New Mexico Lobos and UTEP ... The New Mexico Lobos and UTEP Miners do battle Saturday night at Sun Bowl Stadium in El Paso. Kickoff between the 2-1 teams is ...
A great day for hometown golfer: Aggies' Thomas wins ...
No one connected with New Mexico's ... No one connected with New Mexico's William H. Tucker Intercollegiate tournament is quite sure when — or even if — a local golfer had ...
Professor Yodice issues midterm football grades: Who is the ...
Featured Sports
Professor Y. was forced into hiatus ... Professor Y. was forced into hiatus in the spring, as the pandemic reduced last football season to a month-long sprint and thus negated any ...
Prep cross country: Gunn takes a chance that pays ...
Cross country
There was a definite hometown feel ... There was a definite hometown feel to the Rio Rancho Jamboree on Saturday morning. Rio Rancho High senior Dawson Gunn and Cleveland junior Leah ...
Home again, Aggie Thomas leads at Tucker; Lobo Choi ...
Aiden Thomas, the former state champion ... Aiden Thomas, the former state champion high school golfer at St. Pius, is in his third season compe ...
Lobos to face a throwback UTEP team in throwback ...
EL PASO – UTEP ... EL PASO – UTEP is giving a nod to the vintage Texas Western era on Saturday, when the Miners ...
Aggies get ready to host Hawaii in first of ...
Aloha will become a familiar term ... Aloha will become a familiar term for the New Mexico State Aggies in the coming weeks. ...