Harry Swartz brings a little bit of a Jekyll-and-Hyde vibe to New Mexico United’s roster.
Off the pitch, the 25-year-0ld New England native is happy-go-lucky, quick with a joke and nearly always smiling. On the pitch, he’s in-your-face serious.
During a recent match at Colorado Springs, the 5-foot-9 midfielder went chest to chest with an opponent and Switchbacks coach Brendan Burke during a brief dispute on the sideline. Swartz departed before yellow cards became necessary but not before his point was sufficiently made.
Swartz has also consistently delivered in his first season with United, displaying slick moves, ball control and a knack for creating scoring chances with well-placed crosses from the wing. He leads the club with two assists and has put numerous balls in dangerous spots.
Question: You grew up in the Northeast, went to college there and spent two seasons with (USL Championship) Hartford Athletic. What’s your initial impression of New Mexico?
Answer: I really like it here. It couldn’t be much more opposite from living in Boston or Hartford. The first week I got here it was a little bit snowy and everyone was going crazy. To me that’s just another day. Ever since then it’s just gotten nicer and nicer and I love the surroundings. Every day I get on the field and just look at the mountains and I’m in shock every time. Really enjoying it.
Q: You played numerous sports growing up. What turned your focus to soccer?
A: As I got older, soccer started to become more and more serious. During the winter there was an indoor field that we played at and my dad used to ride me. If I could score goals or something, he would let me play on the claw machine in the facility. The claw machine and candy got me more and more hooked — but really, I’ve loved soccer my whole life.
Q: You were Hartford’s MVP in 2019. What stands out to you about that season?
A: Just to be able to play in front of the fans there. My debut, the franchise’s first home game, came in front of 13,000 people and it just kind of came out of nowhere. Being able to play the game in front of the fans, my friends and family, it was such a great experience.
Q: What did you know about NM before you came here?
A: Not much. New Mexico United and “Breaking Bad.”
Q: What’s the biggest difference you’ve noticed since you arrived?
A: People in the Northeast might not like this but the first thing I noticed here is that people are just super friendly. A lot more so than back east, it’s just very casual.
Q: Word is people should not call you Harry Potter.
A: (Laughs) I’m not a hater. It’s just I don’t have the attention span for long books or movies. My girlfriend likes them a lot, though.
Harry Swartz at a glance
Attended Northeastern University, family lives in Boston.
Favorite sports team: New England Patriots
Favorite athlete: Tom Brady
Non-sports hobby: Eating. I’m into that.
Favorite movie: “Catch Me if You Can”
Musical artist: J. Cole
Red or Green Chile? I don’t know if I can pick one. I like the Christmas combination.
Comfort food? When I’m at home I eat Chipotle all the time. I do the same thing here.