Playing collegiate soccer at San Diego State prepared Kyle Colonna for a shot at the professional game.
It couldn’t fully prepare him for the crash course that landed him on New Mexico United’s roster.
Colonna became NMU’s latest official addition Tuesday, capping a successful stint as a preseason trialist. A 6-foot-3 center defender, Colonna took part in his first media conference after signing his first pro contract.
Not bad considering he got his first look at NMU’s team barely a month ago, starting his trial one day before United left for its three preseason matches in Tucson.
“I got thrown into games right away,” Colonna said. “It was a pretty amazing experience.”
Colonna said he benefited from taking early advice from the coaching staff to heart.
“Anytime you’re in a situations with unknowns it can be stressful,” he said. “But (head coach Zach Prince) and the guys tried to tell me, ‘Just be yourself. It it’s a fit, it’s a fit.'”
Colonna’s successful four-year run at SDSU, where he served two years as a co-captain, instilled confidence. Still, the Danville, California native quickly understood this to be something different.
“The sheer athleticism and speed of play at this level was astonishing to me,” he said.
Getting used to New Mexico’s climate, altitude and United fans also required adjustments.
“New Mexico’s fan base is something I’d heard about and looked forward to,” Colonna said, “but we had a crowd getting into it for our El Paso scrimmage. That was something I’d never experienced – amazing.”
Colonna became the second trialist to earn a 2023 roster spot for United. Midfielder Michael Wyparlo joined the club last week, and another signing or two could be announced before United’s regular-season opener Saturday.