New Santa Fe franchise will start Major Arena Soccer League 2 play in 2023-24
Major Arena Soccer League 2 has officially approved Santa Fe as a new franchise for the league starting in the 2023-24 season, commissioner Chris Economides has announced.
It will be New Mexico’s second MASL 2 franchise as the Albuquerque-based New Mexico Runners – who play at the 6,000 seat Rio Rancho Events Center – are currently in their fourth season of play. The two cities are about 60 miles from each other, creating an immediate geographic rivalry.
The new Santa Fe team – as yet unnamed -- will be owned by David Fresquez, a long-time business owner and community leader in Santa Fe.
They will play at the Genoveva Chavez Community Center in the facility’s 1,200 seat arena. The center is Santa Fe’s premier recreational facility and is operated by the New Mexico Parks and Recreation Department. The community center has an Olympic size pool, ice arena, gymnasium, a recently-opened $12 million tennis complex and a large state-of-the-art fitness center among its many amenities. They currently run indoor soccer adult and youth leagues at the complex.
“We can’t wait for Santa Fe to be introduced to the thrills and excitement of pro indoor soccer. David has done a great job getting city leaders and other key stakeholders on board so early in the process,” noted Economides. “It is the perfect blueprint for success: a committed owner with deep roots and well respected in the community, a beautiful facility, support from community leaders and a nearby team in Albuquerque to create an immediate rivalry that will be instantly great for the fans in New Mexico.”
Fresquez is the owner of a senior home care company and is president of the Santa Fe Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Fresquez is a Santa Fe native, and was an all-state soccer player for Santa Fe High School before moving on to play college soccer at Colorado State-Pueblo.
“Growing up, we always played a lot indoor and it was always super fun which correlates with our city. They want something fun and exciting and good value entertainment, so I kind of linked the two together. It’s a beautiful game, just faster and a lot of fun,” Fresquez noted.
Being a lifelong resident, he added that many in the city agree that bringing Santa Fe the pro indoor game was a good fit for the area.
“The leadership sees the value of bringing quality entertainment, quality soccer to Santa Fe. The city is known for its arts, its opera, its tourism, its skies. We’re on the map for so many quality things, I wanted to correlate all that with soccer being the world game. So it’s a natural fit to bring soccer to Santa Fe.”
The new team already has supporters in Santa Fe city officials who have been in close contact with Fresquez during the approval process.
“Santa Fe loves soccer! And now we’ll have a Santa Fe team playing in the Major Arena Soccer League 2, representing our kids, our families and our community. The city is delighted to provide an assist and we’re eager to see David Fresquez and the team score the first goal,” said Santa Fe Mayor Alan Webber.
“This collaboration is such a wonderful opportunity for our community and youth to see this level of arena soccer in our Community Center, the GCCC,” said Jeremy Perea, GCCC Manager. “The possibilities are endless and we are beyond excited to host the professional team.”
MASL 2 currently has a lineup of 15 teams in two countries, and plays a 12-game regular season starting in December and running through late March. Many M2 teams are operated by parent clubs in Major Arena Soccer League, or have affiliation agreements with MASL teams that allow them to develop and share players.