Have you made any plans for New Years?
Otherwise, the New Mexico Runners will literally kick off their 2021-22 home schedule against the Amarillo Bombers in an indoor soccer game at the Rio Rancho Events Center at 5:05 p.m.
Most of the players from the previous season (2019-20) will be back, as will mascot Rio, in a dry-cleaned outfit.
“I would say 75% of our core is back,” said team owner Andres Trujillo of the active 24-man roster. “We have guys like Miguel Garcia, a standout from Cleveland High School. We have guys like Sergio Fuentes who went to Volcano Vista High School.
Fan-favorite goaltender Casey Gasson – and the first signed player – returns between the pipes. Also back are head coach Steve Famiglietta and “Voice of the Runners,” Rio Rancho High School boys’ football coach John Shepard, who keep fans updated on scorers and roster changes, as well. as promotions in the field.
“We’ve had about 150 season tickets sold,” Trujillo said. “It was definitely a challenge, because people just don’t know it, but they’re excited. “
Trujillo said the team needed around 1,100 fans per game to break even.
Major Arena Soccer League 2 started their 2021-22 season on December 11 with a three-division roster, with the top two teams from each division advancing to postseason games.
The Great Lakes division will feature reigning M2 champion Cleveland Crunch, Muskegon Risers, Chicago Mustangs and Cincinnati-based BC Swerve.
The Midwest Division includes last year’s runner-up, the Wichita Wings, as well as the Colorado Inferno, Amarillo Bombers and Omaha Kings and New Mexico Runners.
The West Division will include the RGV Barracudas, the San Diego Sockers 2, the Ontario Fury 2 and the Turlock Express.
All teams will play a 12-game regular season schedule that runs through March. Teams will receive three points for a win, whether in regulation or overtime. The top two teams from each division will then meet in a quarter-final playoff match at the division winner’s venue.
After the first round, the remaining three teams will be reclassified, with the top team getting an automatic pass to the championship game. The second and third seeds will meet in a match at the Championship Weekend site, decided later in the season.
“We really love the setup, and with just six of our teams making the playoffs, literally every regular season game will have playoff implications that we think will be exciting for all teams and their fans,” said Commissioner Chris Economides.
The league started with two divisions of five teams in 2017-18. The Runners joined the league in time for the 2018-19 season and went 4-8, then 4-7 in the 2019-20 season.
The pandemic scuttled the Runners in 2020-21, although six other teams played at least 10 games each.
Omaha swept the Runners from Dec. 17-18 in a weekend double header, 15-10 and 13-12. Alejandro has scored four goals in every game for the Runners, while teammate Johnny Villaba has scored four goals over the weekend.
“After almost a two-year hiatus, because that’s basically what it has been… it will be about a year and 10 months since we last played at home,” said Trujillo.
“We are not going to play with masks,” he added. “With the fans, of course, the mask’s mandate is implied, but because you’re in an arena – you eat, drink – so no one can really enforce it); you enjoy the conversation, whatever it is.
“For us, we are following the guidelines of the state,” he said. Fans won’t be asked for vaccination status, but Trujillo said he hopes fans will distance themselves from other people who are not in their group, and this can easily be accomplished by sitting in. the upper bowl, where General Admission ticket holders will be located.
Trujillo is planning special celebrations at home games, including a game where Rio Rancho residents – with proof of residency – will be admitted for free. Details are still being worked out for these “theme nights”.
Season tickets start at $ 70 and go up to $ 250 for front row seats; One-game ducats range from $ 13 to $ 50, and you can get a discount on group tickets for as little as $ 11 per ticket for fans ages 10 and up.
The Runners’ other home games, every Saturday and kick off at 7 p.m., are January 8 (vs. Kings FC), January 22 (Rio Rancho Community Night / vs. Rio Grande Valley Barra), February 5 (Educators Night./vs. Inferno), February 26 (Faith and Family Night / vs. Wings) and March 19 (First Responders Appreciation Night / vs. Turlock).
To purchase tickets or get more information, visit newmexicorunners.com or call 505-663-7786. The Runners also have a Facebook page.
The games will be shown on ProView networks, added Trujillo.
“I strongly believe that (sports) shows are two hour commercials,” he joked. “When you sell the excitement and people see that, they say, ‘Oh, that’s cool. I have to go check this out.
For the latest league and team information, visit m2soccer.com or one of the league’s social media platforms.
Trujillo said the team will sponsor a youth soccer clinic to be held at the center of events from January 21-23; it will include, according to him, two professional footballers from Columbia.