17-year-old Christian Nava (center) made his debut for New Mexico United in the club's win against Colorado Springs on July 9, and is now the first Academy product to sign a professional deal with the club. | Photo courtesy Josh Lane / New Mexico United
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – New Mexico United announced on Saturday it had signed native New Mexican Cristian Nava to his first professional contract. The 17-year-old forward is the first player in New Mexico United Academy history to complete the path to the professional ranks, having previously made his debut this season for New Mexico in the USL Championship as a USL Academy signing on July 9th, coming on as a second-half substitute in the side’s 3-1 win against Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC.
“To see what Cristian has put into the first team training sessions, and then watching him go and play with the academy and be the best player on the field against any opponent he played against was a great indicator for us to say, ‘this kid has a chance, right now at a young age, to sign a professional contract,’” said New Mexico United Head Coach and Technical Director Troy Lesesne. “Cristian has earned this incredible honor, and we are so proud to reward his hard work.”
Nava attends Albuquerque High School, where he led the Bulldogs to a state championship in 2019 and was named a United Soccer Coaches High School All-America selection the same year as a sophomore. Nava is signed through the end of the 2023 season and will be available for selection in Monday’s match at Austin Bold FC.