ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) Imagine Albuquerque the home of a major league sports team.
One state lawmaker says it’s time to stop dreaming and make something happen. He’s kicking around a big idea.
“I think we have to think big in New Mexico.”
State Representative Antonio “Moe” Maestas wants to transform downtown Albuquerque through a popular sport.
“There’s a market for soccer,” Maestas said.
He wants to see a Major League Soccer team call the duke city home.
“We’re as good a city as the next to get a team down the road,” Maestas said.
Maestas is getting the ball rolling through a House memorial, or “conversation starter,” asking the governor to look at the possibility – as well as Mayor R.J. Berry. He says Major League Soccer, or the MLS, is growing and it’s time New Mexico got on board.
“They want to do at some point, 10 years down the road, a 32-team model similar to the NFL and so we just have to jump into that top 32,” Maestas said.
Another part of this plan is to build a new downtown stadium to house the team. Maestas says something that could seat around 22,000 people would work and isn’t farfetched.
“Stadiums just add a vibrancy to a city and were as deserving as anyone else to have that,” Maestas said.
The minor league Albuquerque Sol soccer team was created last year. More than 100 people came to try out and another tryout is expected this year.
The university also played host to the Colorado Rapids last summer, an MLS team based in Denver. Maestas says the match drew a good crowd.
And then there’s Lobo soccer. With the men reaching the Final Four recently, Maestas says the sport just keeps growing.
“It’s a dream,” Maestas said. “You got to dream big and have journey start with a single step.”
Maestas says more than 20,000 New Mexican children play soccer, too.
“I would bug my parents for like ever to see one of their games,” 11-year-old Nathanyel Ajani Judkins of the Duke City Stars said.
Maestas is asking the governor to touch base with the Tourism Department as well as the state’s Chamber of Commerce to see if something could work.
Albuquerque’s minor league team starts play this spring.
KRQE News 13 tried reaching out to both the governor and mayor Sunday about this idea, but they did not get back to us.