El Paso Locomotive has only been around for one season, but it’s clear the club has already become a huge part of the community.
The above mini documentary, released by the USL Championship YouTube channel on Tuesday, highlights the impact Locomotive has made on the West Texas town of El Paso.
El Paso is one of the most unique cities in the U.S., located right on the Mexico border across the Rio Grande from Juarez, Mexico. Last August, the city was devastated when a white supremacist from the Dallas suburb of Allen, Texas, shot up a Walmart, killing 22 and injuring 24 more, one of the deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history.
Locomotive was scheduled to host Portland Timbers 2 that day, but the match, like so many lives in the community, was postponed.
When Locomotive finally returned to play at Southwest University Park, where they averaged 6,584 fans in the regular season, the players made a pact to play not for themselves but for the city.
The USL documentary talks with players, coaches and fans about the impact the club has made on the city. Prior to Locomotive coming to town, soccer fans had to travel across the border to watch FC Juarez play. Now fans from both countries regularly attend matches for both clubs.
With a population near 700,000, El Paso is the largest city in the U.S. without a top-flight professional sports team. (Technically it’s Austin, but they’re getting Austin FC next year, and then Fort Worth, but that’s basically Dallas, and most of Dallas’ teams don’t even play in Dallas.) It’s unlikely El Paso Locomotive will get invited into MLS. The top-flight league gave Austin an expansion team under less-than-ideal circumstances (also leaving San Antonio out of luck). The club’s only hope is for MLS to one day institute promotion-relegation with the USL.
But Locomotive is clearly off to a strong start bringing the community of El Paso together in the name of soccer.