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 May 24 - 30, 2018 
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News Feature

Unite & Elevate

Albuquerque Sol FC commits to community enrichment

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Albuquerque famously feels small. Despite boasting a population of around 560,000 burqueños—a number that swells above 900,000 if we include surrounding metropolitan areas like Rio Rancho—the city radiates an idiosyncratic sense of intimacy.

The reliable lack of traffic helps that impression, as does an uncanny assurance in seeing someone you know at the Frontier Restaurant no matter what time you go, but I believe Burque’s identity and intimacy is much more profound than these everyday experiences. What really defines our culture is the intense sense of connection we innately feel with the city and state itself.

Even those who grumble about the issues plaguing our community or who spend tedious hours lamenting bondage in the “Land of Entrapment” decorate their bodies with Zia tattoos and wax lyrical about our spectacular sunsets. And should any outsider dare to disparage us, New Mexicans are quick to defend our state’s good (if statistically-tarnished) name with the borderline-fanatic intensity that is usually reserved for the most fervent of sports fans.

It makes sense, then, that a state fostering such passion and pride hopes to establish itself as a viable home for a professional sports team. The Isotopes consistently draw impressive crowds that average around 8,000 fans, while basketball games at the notoriously-deafening Pit over the past two years have averaged 11,258 howling supporters—and those are historically disappointing numbers for The Pit, which used to welcome nearly 15,000 attendees to home games.

That 15,000 numbers appears to be something of a magic number in the world of professional sports: several Major League Soccer and NBA teams average similar attendance. Given time, I think Albuquerque could easily match and surpass that benchmark—especially with a sport like soccer, which hosts relatively few home games each season and burns brazenly in many burqueños hearts.

Albuquerque Sol FC, our local Premier Developmental League soccer team, is borne out of those kindred passions for the city and the sport, and is now striving to realize their vision of a team built around the city, and a city built around the team.

In the five years since their inception, Sol FC has generously and genuinely invested themselves in the improvement and enrichment of Albuquerque communities. Their motto “Unite & Elevate” is a beautifully simply embodiment of what Albuquerque needs, and what the Sol is helping to achieve.

Of the forty-five community partnerships Sol FC has already cultivated, the most recent is the most indicative of their community-building vision. Joining forces with the UnitedHealthCare Community Plan of New Mexico, Sol FC has promised a summer-long series of free community soccer clinics and camps intended to bring the joy of soccer—and information about healthy living—to local communities. These free clinics give young players opportunities to engage and interact with soccer in new and innovative ways, while also providing them with much-needed resources for healthier lifestyles.

Albuquerque Sol FC is an incredibly valuable figure in our community because of what they have done and what they dream of doing. The illusory inspiration at the root of their vision is the “sight and sound of thousands of New Mexicans, from myriad backgrounds, cheering on their team,” but the Sol knows the greatness of a team is rooted not in results, but in the community that stands behind them and propels them forward. Their dedication and devotion to empowering that community is a testament to their noble intentions and integrity, and one that I am confident our city will repay in full.

courtesy of Sol FC


 
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