He's made United fans miserable, but now he's joining the team - Albuquerque Journal

He’s made United fans miserable, but now he’s joining the team

Greg Hurst is looking forward to a second introduction to New Mexico United fans.

His first one didn’t go over all that well.

Hurst, a 25-year-old striker from Stirling, Scotland, became United’s first official offseason addition Friday, joining the club as part of a transfer agreement. He’s never been to Albuquerque and said he doesn’t know any of United’s returning players personally.

But Hurst’s name may jog the memories of devoted United fans. He spent last season with Phoenix Rising FC and spent four days in April making New Mexico supporters miserable. Hurst netted the only goal in Phoenix’s 1-0 USL Championship home win over NMU on April 16, and he headed home a late game winner in Rising FC’s 2-1 U.S. Open Cup win on April 20.

The upside? Hurst’s work got the attention of United coach Zach Prince and his staff.

Greg Hurst

“Every team you play against you want to impress because you never know,” Hurst said in Friday’s introductory media conference. “I was fortunate enough to do well against New Mexico and now I’m getting a chance to join their club.”

It’s the latest challenge for Hurst, who has been playing professionally since he was 17. He played for several Scottish League squads before coming to the United States in 2019. He spent two seasons in Chattanooga, played for Union Omaha in 2021 and spent last season with Phoenix.

Two strong performances against New Mexico notwithstanding, Hurst’s highlight was the 2021 season, during which he scored 14 goals and helped Union Omaha to a USL League One championship.

“Winning a championship is always the goal,” Hurst said. “New Mexico is a team aiming for a championship and that’s what I’m aiming for, too. It looks like a fun place to be with their fans and it’s an exciting roster. There’s a good feel and atmosphere around the club.”

Hurst finished with six goals in 31 appearances for Rising FC last season. He was not part of the club’s depleted active roster for NMU’s 7-0 win over Phoenix in Albuquerque on May 24 and smiled when asked about rejoining the teams’ rivalry on United’s side.

“I look forward to being a part of it,” he said.

As part of Friday’s transaction, Phoenix receives an international roster slot from United for the 2023 season. Prince believes Hurst’s skill set will pay dividends for United, which struggled to score at times last season.

“Greg has all the characteristics needed to be successful as an attacking player in our system,” Prince said. “His ability to make threatening runs behind the defensive line and also make plays between the lines makes him different. Couple that with his consistent defensive pressure, and we are really looking forward to adding Greg to our attacking group.”

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