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5 Things Every New Soccer Fan Must Know

By New Mexico United Staff, 07/25/19, 12:45PM MDT

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So, you’ve never been to a soccer game, but you want to learn everything you can about New Mexico United? Maybe you’ve got a ticket, your friends are going to a match or you’ve got a full ticket cart sitting on the website, but you’re hesitant to commit because you don’t know the first thing about soccer. 

Not to fear, we’re coming in for an assist with this top ten list:

1. What makes New Mexico United a “professional” soccer team?

New Mexico United is a member of the United Soccer League (USL) which is the largest professional soccer organization in North America, serving both America and Canada. 

There are three tiers of teams in the USL:

  • Championship
  • League 1 
  • League 2

New Mexico United is a Championship team, meaning that we are classified as a Division II professional league by the U.S. Soccer Federation. This sanction is split up into two geographical groups; Western Conference and Eastern Conference, of which New Mexico is part of the Western Conference. 

There is another well known American soccer league called Major League Soccer or MLS. It is considered to be another top tier of American soccer. Unlike other leagues around the world there is no relegation or promotion between lower and top leagues meaning that if an MLS team finishes last it is still in the MLS the next year. While both leagues are professional, the MLS is considered to be the bigger of the two leagues as it essentially has more sponsorships than other American leagues.

 

2. Who are we playing, how often and why?

New Mexico United plays seventeen matches during the regular season from March to October. We play one home and one away match in order to ensure both teams play with the home field advantage. It also allows teams to get a feel of conference rivals so when they play a team again tactics can be adjusted to allow each team to pick up maximum points possible.

3. What Spells a Victory?

The goal that every team has is to clinch a victory in order to move up the table through the point system. In Major League Soccer, USL, and Major European Leagues a point system is utilized with three points awarded for a win, one point awarded for a draw, and zero points awarded for a loss. So what happens if two teams tie for a position? Other factors such as goal difference (amounts of goals scored subtracted by goals against) is used to break the tie. This all culminates to give a ranking on the Conference table. The top ten teams in each conference will then qualify for the playoffs to compete for the USL Cup. 

 

4. How does the ball move around the field?

Soccer is, of course, a fast paced game but it has two main different types of play: open play and dead ball situations. Open play consists of passing between players, turnovers, and other moments that happen in the blink of an eye. A dead ball situation is when a player will place the ball on the field—usually after a foul or for a free kick, goal kick, corner kick, or penalty—then make a pass or shoot the ball from its position.

 

5. Soccer Slang

If you really want to sound like a soccer pro, replace these three words in any conversation at the stadium. New Mexico United is technically a professional soccer ‘club.’ This would be in comparison to calling our players a ‘team.’ Though both are used interchangeably in the soccer world, this quick change up will have you sounding like you grew up on ‘the field’ or (if you really want to sound high brow) ‘the pitch.’ Other jargon to be aware of is what the actual play is called. In this case, what would be commonly referred to as a ‘game’ is known in soccer as a ‘match'.

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