New Mexico United on Monday released the latest episode of the club’s Somos Familia, featuring the Romancito family, who in addition to being early New Mexico United fans since the club’s inaugural season two years ago have also led opportunities for youngsters to play the game in the Zuni Pueblo, a native community situated around 150 miles west of Albuquerque.
Speaking with Rolanda and Shania Romancito, the documentary speaks to soccer’s popularity within the Zuni community after humble beginnings on dirt fields, and the ties that United has built in creating a club founded in community across the state.
Through the Zuni Youth Enrichment Project, soccer was introduced to the community in 2009, and now has programs for players as young as four years old that the Romancito family has helped lead and develop.
“When we first heard about soccer, it was something that was very new to a lot of us,” said Shania.
“We started playing on… was it dirt? It was dirt before we even got our soccer field built,” added Rolanda. “It took us, what, 10 years? Ten years to get that thing going. Starting off with us still coaching it was all new to us trying to learn this new sport.”
The Romancito’s efforts paid off, though, as more and more of the Pueblo’s youngsters became interesting in playing the sport. With the arrival of United, they now have something even bigger to aspire to in their home state.
“The April game that we had gone to, the very first game we had attended, it was with our whole soccer team from Zuni,” said Shania. “Some of them had never been to Isotopes for a baseball game, so just going out there and seeing New Mexico United, Devon [Sandoval] and [Josh] Suggs and [Justin] Schmidt and those guys playing, and they’re from New Mexico, that really opened up their eyes to something bigger and some thing better that they can do where they can represent their team and their state.”
The full documentary, which follows the family to United’s 2021 home opener against Austin Bold FC in May, will premiere at 9:30 p.m. ET tonight.