Paolo '22 Becomes Third New Mexico United Academy Team Player in History
Bosque School junior, Paolo, just signed on as the third New Mexico United Academy Team player in history! “I feel honored to be able to represent my state at the highest level doing what I love to do the most,” said Paolo. “As a team player, I am truly excited to be able to join a team that includes elite players from all over the state.”
New Mexico United, in partnership with the Somos Unidos Foundation, formed the academy club team for soccer players ages 16–19. When the formation of the team was first announced, Paolo jumped at the opportunity to be a part of it.
“The selection process for the NM United Academy Team was intense, but special,” Paolo described. “Beginning in the summer of 2019 when open tryouts began with over 500 soccer players arriving from all over the state, all with the goal to make the team.” After the open tryouts, Paolo was able to connect with some of New Mexico United’s first-team players at a meet and greet. At that point, only about 250 players were invited back and they began training sessions weekly for about six to seven months until the pandemic put the sessions to an abrupt halt. By the time the pandemic put the world on lockdown, the list of potential academy players had dwindled to about 25 players, with only 18 making the final team—and Paolo was one of them.
“The pandemic was most certainly the most vigorous part of the selection process as our sessions were held over Zoom. However, we were all fortunate that, thanks to the efforts of the New Mexico United coaching staff, we were able to continue training,” said Paolo. Through the lockdown, the team had regular Zoom calls and game breakdowns, all to test their knowledge and dedication to the game. In late November, the players were told that New Mexico United was ready to announce the arrival of their first-ever New Mexico United Academy Team. By mid-December, all of the players received the call letting them know whether or not they made the official team. “All in all an amazing experience that I was blessed to have been a part of,” Paolo exclaimed.
Paolo shared that he’s been playing soccer as long as he’s been walking and hasn’t stopped since, nor does he have plans to stop anytime soon. He made the Bosque School varsity team in 9th grade, and continued through 10th grade. In addition to playing on the Bosque team, he has been playing club soccer for the past 10 years with the Pateadores New Mexico team and most recently the Real Salt Lake AZ MLS Academy and National Premier League Team. What Paolo loves most about the sport is that it brings together players and fans from all over the world, of all different backgrounds, and makes them one worldwide soccer community creating a personal connection with people who may have never come together otherwise.