Ledes from the Land of Enchantment

NMU: Prince gets the job

The Zach Prince era of New Mexico United football officially began on Monday morning.

Prince, 33, becomes the club’s head coach and technical director after serving three seasons as first assistant to former coach Troy Lesesne. The first step was an introductory media conference with Club President / CEO Peter Trevisani in the United Team Store in Nob Hill.

Prince made it clear that he wanted to find a balance between Lesesnes and his own style.

“I think it’s important to establish a style,” said Prince. “I’m lucky that Troy let me be involved in decisions. and we will keep many things that are already there. What I think will be different is the level of aggression. I want us to be really aggressive, move forward quickly and make the opponents uncomfortable, especially when they come to Isotopes Park. We want it to be an incredibly difficult place to play. “

The South Carolina-born Prince played football at the College of Charleston and spent six seasons with the Charleston Battery of the USL Championship, winning two league championships during that time. Prince said he turned down a contract extension after the 2016 season and chose to become a coach instead.

“I’ve looked at things through a coach’s lens for a long time,” said Prince. “The ambition to become head coach has been there since day one. When this opportunity arose, it was child’s play. “

Prince said his tenure in Albuquerque made him appreciate the New Mexicans’ passion for their state and for a relatively new professional football franchise.

“The incredible thing about our crowd is not when goals are scored,” he said. “They cheer when a guy runs back 45 yards for a great defensive game. They are on duty all the time, and nobody leaves in the 89th minute. As a trainer, this kind of passion makes you want to work a lot harder. “

Trevisani said United’s managerial opening had generated a lot of interest and a steady stream of messages from potential candidates.

“Football is an international sport and there are so many people to watch,” said Trevisani. “We had these conversations, but the bigger picture here made Zach an overwhelming favorite. He’s been there right from the start, helped set up our academy program and is part of our culture on and off the pitch. Zach was a winner too. He scored some big goals and was involved in big games as a player and coach. “

Prince planned to meet with returning United players “immediately” and said he was involved in discussions about bringing new players to New Mexico for the 2022 season. He doesn’t expect or want a honeymoon and believes the NMU will be back in the playoffs next season.

“It’s a disappointment not to make the playoffs,” he said, “that is out of the question. So much work has gone into preparing for the next season. I can’t say enough about having the opportunity to work towards a championship. “

From a tactical standpoint, Prince said he would like United to take more chances, even if they play with a lead.

“I have the feeling that we have to put more pressure on in order to extend the lead,” he said, “and make it harder for the opponents to score goals. Some of our defensive mistakes really prepare our opponents. We have to set other standards defensively. “

As for personal standards, Prince smiled when asked if he should adhere to Lesesne’s strict dress code. Lesesne was possibly the only USL championship coach to wear a suit on the sidelines at every game.

Prince wore a blazer (not a tie) to Monday’s media conference but made no promises about what to wear.

“Troy set a standard with the suit,” said Prince. “I haven’t thought about that yet. At the moment I just want to get to work. “

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