New Mexico’s United Soccer League team kicks off in March 2019. Isabel Gonzalez/TheLoboLair
Isabel Gonzalez
@cisabelg

On Wednesday afternoon, the soccer community in Albuquerque officially got a confirmation on the “worst kept secret.” The 505 will get a professional soccer team in the United Soccer League starting in 2019.

The name is yet to be decided but the team will be playing at Isotopes Park. Rumors of Albuquerque getting a professional team had been going around for months but there had been no official announcements. One thing that had been kept more secret was that former UNM men’s soccer player Devon Sandoval was going to be the first player to sign with the team. The USL New Mexico staff hadn’t originally planned on making Sandoval’s announcement during this day.

“Being able to come home and play for my home professional team is a dream come true,” Sandoval said.

The Albuquerque native is currently a forward for Atlanta United 2. From 2013 to 2016 he played in Major League Soccer for Real Salt Lake, the team that drafted him during the second round of the 2013 MLS SuperDraft.

Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller has had a busy schedule due to primary elections, but although he showed up late to the event, he made it in time to give a speech saying that he believed the city’s multicultural environment provided the perfect venue for soccer.

More announcements are expected to occur in the next couple of months, including a chance for fans to help brainstorm names for the team.

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