El Paso Locomotive FC is set to return to training through small group sessions of no more than four players the club announced on Monday.
The announcement comes following the modifications of the USL Training Moratorium, however, in accordance with local and state health guidelines, as well as the guidelines outlined by the United Soccer League, no one other than the players and staff will be allowed be in attendance during the work outs.
As no date has been yet set for the return of soccer to the pitch, Locomotive team officials have announced several fan participation contests, to keep the faithful engaged during the sport’s hiatus.
Locos fans can upload match day videos and photos to their Fan’s Eye View presented by Estrella Jalisco for a chance to be the virtual Estrella of the Match. The person chosen as our virtual Estrella of the Match will win a exclusive Estrella Jalisco cooler
Each fan-submitted videos and photos will be put together in a video that shows the match day experience from the fans’ eyes.
“I was like, what’s happening out there?” Herrera laughed. “When [my wife] started recording me so I figured it was something. I thought it was just going to be my family, I didn’t think it would be the whole team.”
For the first time ever, both Southwest University Park and Estadio Olímpico Benito Juárez lights were turned on in unison, and the video displays played the same messages in order to unite the region during the COVID-19 emergency.
Earlier this week officials with the region’s three professional sports teams – El Paso Chihuahuas, FC Juarez Bravos, and El Paso Locomotive FC – announced that they would be turning on their respective stadium lights and videoboards, as well as going on their respective social media platforms as a symbolic gesture, displaying messages of unity to the binational region.
A second event, with a new set of messages will be displayed on Wednesday, May 6 from 8-8:30 p.m.
Wednesday night’s The messages read:
o We Are Strong/Somos Fuertes
o We Are Brave/Somos Bravos
o We Are Champions/Somos Campeones
o We Will See You Soon El Paso & Juarez! ¡Nos Vemos pronto El Paso y Juarez!
o #StaySafeAtHome #QuedateEnCasa #UnitedWeAreOne #UnidosSomosUno
Photos courtesy EP Chihuahuas, EP Locomotive and FC Juarez Bravos
El Paso Locomotive FC is teaming with USL Championship and various clubs across the league to support local charities through the month of April, the club announced Wednesday.
Locomotive FC, along with other clubs, have already begun using their online presence to help their local communities since the temporary suspension of the Championship season and delay to the start of the USL League One season were announced.
Teams, including El Paso Locomotive FC, will also be aiding in local charities during the upcoming USL eCup: Rocket League Edition that begins on Wednesday afternoon. Locomotive FC GK Logan Ketterer will be playing on behalf of the El Paso Food and Beverage Workers Fund throughout the online tournament.
In 35 communities across the country, USL Championship clubs will be participating in the initiative, with donations to be made to local charities of local charities of the club’s choosing.
“The El Paso Locomotive FC Foundation’s mission is to create a positive financial and cultural impact on families and children in our community through creative programs and events,” team officials shared. “El Paso Locomotive FC – in conjunction with MiLB side El Paso Chihuahuas – have helped local organizations raise more than $1.5 million through in-stadium fundraising, have provided $300,000 in monetary donations and $150,000 in in-kind donations.”
A percentage of all Locomotive FC merchandise sold online will be donated to the El Paso Locomotive FC Foundation to provide support during the current COVID-19 pandemic.
El Paso Locomotive FC and KVIA-TV/CW collectively announced Monday they will continue their partnership to broadcast Locomotive FC matches on the local CW with weekly full-game rebroadcasts of five highlighted matches from Locomotive FC’s inaugural season.
All rebroadcasts are scheduled to kick off every Saturday at 4:00 p.m. MT starting on March 28 with Locomotive’s 3-1 Regular Season victory over eventual Western Conference Semifinal foe, Sacramento Republic FC.
Each match up will be highlighted by commentary and analysis by Head Coach Mark Lowry during the half-time break and after the full-time whistle.
“During this extraordinary time, we’re excited to be able to bring these matches from 2019 to our fans who miss the opportunity to watch their Locomotive team live,” Locomotive FC President Alan Ledford said. “Coach Lowry and the guys are looking forward to being back on the pitch, but in the meantime, this will provide a fun opportunity to see some great Locos soccer.”
Locomotive FC’s home matches against LA Galaxy II, Fresno FC and the 4-1 win over Portland Timbers 2 that earned El Paso a playoff berth will highlight each Saturday following the March 28 rebroadcast of May’s clash against Republic FC.
The five-game series will culminate on April 25 with a replay of the Western Conference Semifinal against Sacramento that saw El Paso punch its ticket to its first appearance in the Western Conference Final.
“El Paso Locomotive and KVIA-TV aren’t waiting for the soccer season to resume,” said KVIA-TV General Manager Kevin Lovell. “We’re happy to be bringing several of the best inaugural season Locomotive games back to the airwaves. Get your soccer fix and tune in!”
See the full rebroadcast schedule below:
Saturday, March 28; 4:00 p.m. MT – Home vs. Sacramento Republic FC (Regular Season; 5/18/19)
Saturday, April 4; 4:00 p.m. MT – Home vs LA Galaxy II (Regular Season; 6/8/19)
Saturday, April 11; 4:00 p.m. MT – Home vs Portland Timbers 2, (Regular Season; 10/15/19)
Saturday, April 18; 4:00 p.m. MT – Home vs Fresno, (Regular Season; 10/2/19)
Saturday, April 25; 4:00 p.m. MT – Home vs Sacramento, (Western Conference Semifinal; 11/2/19)
El Paso Locomotive completed their 2020 preseason with a 3-3 draw after 90 minutes. The team faced 2019 USL regular season points champion and Western Conference rivals, Phoenix Rising FC, in an exciting match in Tucson.
El Paso’s newest offensive star, who will be announced on Monday morning, scored the first two goals of the contest to put Locomotive up 2-0.
The second goal was described by Head Coach Mark Lowry as “an absolute rocket from 20 yards out that found the top corner.”
After halftime and multiple Locomotive substitutions, Rising clawed their way back into the game after converting a penalty to bring the score to 2-1.
Local product and Bravos loanee, Aaron Gomez, scored the final goal of the match for El Paso to extend the lead to 3-1 before Phoenix found two late goals to see the match end in a draw.
“After a productive preseason that saw the boys work hard, this is a great result to see the team into the first week of the regular season and we will be ready to compete on March 14th in front of our amazing fans at Southwest University Park,” remarked Head Coach Mark Lowry.
For those wanting Season Ticket Memberships, Group Tickets, and Individual Match Tickets can be purchased online or by calling or texting 915-235-GOAL
Wednesday afteroon, El Paso Locomotive won another preseason match in convincing fashion versus USL Championship side OKC Energy in Tucson.
The afternoon match was the second to last warmup match before the season starts on Friday, March 6th in Orange County. Despite the offensive outburst, Head Coach Mark Lowry was most impressed with his team’s defense and their shape.
“This game showcased more of our defensive identity that our fans are accustomed to. We were strong in the back and all over the field. Logan Ketterer did not face a single shot on target the entire first 90 minutes and that is how we like to play”.
Forward Marios Lomis of the Netherlands opened the game’s scoring after the first 20 minutes of buzzing pressure from Locomotive. He got his foot on the end of a ball in the box that was not cleared and put it away to have Locomotive go up 1-0.
In the second half, Frenchman Alexy Bosetti took in a cross from Omar Salgado to finish with his head and put the El Paso crew up 2-0 and comfortably in control at the end of the 90 minute session.
The teams played an extra 30 minutes and local product Omar Salgado made it 3-0 after using his superior speed and strength to blow past the center back and fire the ball into the back of the net. The match finished 3-0 for El Paso after 120 minutes of action in the Arizona sun.
Locomotive FC take on Phoenix Rising in their final preseason tuneup on Saturday, February 29th in Tucson in a closed door friendly.
Their next home game is the USL Championship home opener on March 14th at 7:30 p.m. vs Portland Timbers 2. Tickets to the first home match can be purchased at online or by calling or texting 915-235-GOAL.
Tuesday morning, El Paso Locomotive FC officials announced that the club extended the loan for Josué Aarón Gómez into the 2020 season, pending league and federation approval.
Gomez has been on loan from FC Juarez since the beginning of May 2019. He was a crucial part of the attack and notched 8 goals, all of which came in the second half of the season.
“We are very happy to have Aarón back with us for a second a year. We want to thank our friends at FC Juarez for helping make this happen and look forward to seeing Aaron score more goals for us in 2020.” said Mark Lowry.
The El Paso native became an instant contributor the second half of the 2019 campaign to help the Locomotive on their historic run to the Western Conference Finals. He scored the game winner in a 3-0 rout of Sacramento Republic in Locomotive’s only home playoff game in 2019.
Gómez joins fellow local product Omar Salgado, as well as newcomers Saeed Robinson and Marios Lomis in the attack.
He joins a potent corps of 16 returning players including Logan Ketterer, Drew Beckie, Chiro N’toko, Mechack Jérôme, Richie Ryan, Nick Ross, Omar Salgado, Alexy Bosetti, Andrew Fox, Louis “Chapa” Herrera, Moses Makinde, Guillermo Diaz, Yuma, Bryam Rebellon and Jermaine Fordah who made it to the Western Conference final in their inaugural run.
With the first home match on March 14th only 18 days away, Season Ticket Memberships, Group Tickets, and Individual Match Tickets can be purchased online or by calling or texting 915-235-GOAL.
On Saturday, El Paso Locomotive FC’s official mascot – Ozzy – was introduced at Tropical Smoothie Café.
According to club officials, Ozzy, a Mexican free-tailed bat, will be joining the coaches and players on the field and in the community, for the 2020 season.
“Ozzy stands well over 6 feet tall with purple wings and wears his hair in a purple mohawk between his yellow and purple striped ears,” officials shared during the unveiling. ” Always smiling, Ozzy is ready to meet all Locomotive fans!”
Head Coach Mark Lowry also commented on the new addition to the club, “Ozzy’s passion for the game is unlike anything I have seen before whether it be human or flying mammal! He is a natural fit for the team and for El Paso due to his insatiable love for the game and for the community. He is a welcome addition and one that will be a powerful unifying force for years to come.”
Officials added, “As a Mexican free-tailed bat, the official flying mammal of Texas, Ozzy loves flying around town. Ozzy plans to visit everywhere in the community; schools, hospitals, youth soccer games and of course, at every Locomotive home match.”
From the time he was a young pup nested high in the caves of the Franklin Mountains that dominate the landscape, Ozzy had two loves; the city of El Paso and soccer. His fondest memories were of the sights and sounds of the countless soccer matches that filled the warm El Paso summer nights when he and his colony swooped from their homes into the valley below.
Ozzy heard people call the game many things, football, futbol, and soccer; whatever it was called he knew it was a part of him. The lights, the drums, the cheers, the fans, the action, it all drew him in. His love of the game kept him returning night after night, and season after season. He watched on from above the fields, hanging from the lights or trees that surrounded the pitch, trying to get the best view of poetry in motion below.
As time chugged down the track, he began hearing whispers that something big was coming to his city in 2019.
Was his dream finally coming true? Was professional soccer coming home to El Paso?
Ozzy couldn’t contain his excitement. He flew as fast as his wings would allow until he reached his destination, the home of El Paso Locomotive FC, Southwest University Park.
Thundering energy and power pulsed from the train tracks that veined beneath the stadium, the hum of the lights painted the pitch in white, and at that moment, Ozzy knew he was home. Soccer was his love, and the stadium was his heart.
Ozzy was the model fan, full of energy and devotion for his city’s team. His admiration did not go unnoticed and Ozzy was offered the chance of a lifetime; becoming El Paso Locomotive FC’s official mascot.
Ozzy only has one responsibility; to share his passion everywhere he goes for his city and his team.
Fans can come see Ozzy at the Locos first home match on Saturday, March 14th; Season Ticket Memberships, Group Tickets, and Individual Match Tickets can be purchased online or by calling or texting 915-235-GOAL.
Gallery by Andres ‘Ace’ Acosta – Chief Photographer – El Paso Herald Post
El Paso Locomotive FC crossed into Juarez to face sister club and Borderland rival, FC Juarez. The preseason friendly saw Locomotive getting a 2-0 win against the Liga MX team’s U-20 squad, joined by first team center back Jose Rodriguez and goalkeeper Marco Canales.
Head Coach Mark Lowry’s commented on the match that ended 2-0, “It was good coming over here and playing. It was a competitive game with a lot energy, it was intense and that is what we ask for in preseason.”
The match opened with a goal in the 10th minute netted by second year Locomotive midfielder, Nick Ross. Locomotive FC saw few shots on goal in the first half leaving Logan Ketterer with little to do and no difficult saves.
Later in the half saw Alexy Bosetti barely missing a shot following a cross from Omar Salgado.
In the 32nd minute, Saeed Robinson saw an opportunity to crash the box and notched his first goal for the team, bringing the score to 2-0. At the end of the half, Robinson was brought down at the top of the box resulting in a free kick taken by Richie Ryan.
Locomotive could not convert, and the half ended in positive fashion for the visitors, 2-0.
The second half looked a lot like the first with Locomotive holding the majority of possession and even with major roster changes in the 60th minute, the game continued at the same pace.
Combination play within the midfield, led by Chapa, kept the defense connected to the offense and allowed for continued possession for Locomotive.
With the Locomotive home match on March 14th only 24 days away Season Ticket Memberships, Group Tickets, and Individual Match Tickets can be purchased online or by calling or texting 915-235-GOAL.
El Paso Locomotive and KVIA/CW have renewed their successful partnership to broadcast locally all 12 of Locomotive’s Saturday home matches throughout the 2020 season in a joint announcement on February 13, 2020.
The CW will also broadcast three road matches including the Locomotive at New Mexico United on Saturday, March 21st at 7:30 p.m.
“We are excited to once again partner with the Locomotive to provide viewers with a quality broadcast of all 12 Saturdays and one Sunday home game this season,” said KVIA-TV General Manager Kevin Lovell. “If you can’t get to the games at Southwest University Park, they will be carried on the El Paso – Las Cruces CW. The CW network is available over-the-air and on all major cable and satellite outlets in the El Paso and Las Cruces TV market.”
Locomotive General Manager of Business Operations Andrew Forrest stated, “The power of having a local partner who is invested in local soccer cannot be understated. This offers all our fans in the region the opportunity to enjoy games when they are unable to make it to Southwest University Park. To be able to partner again for year two is important to our growth as a club.”
This successful joint effort saw 12 games broadcast locally in 2019’s wildly successful first season as well as the 2019 Western Conference Finals in Salt Lake City.
The broadcast team will once again be comprised of Duke Keith and Michael Balogun. “The complementary wealth of soccer knowledge and expertise they bring to the table is unparalleled,” team officials added.
Keith has been an esteemed member of the El Paso media scene for more than 30 years having joined the El Paso Sports Hall of Fame this past May. He has served in various roles across multiple organizations, including play-by-play for ESPN, the El Paso Patriots, El Paso Rhinos, and UTEP Athletics.
Balogun played NCAA D1 soccer for the University of Akron, one of the most highly regarded programs in the country. He spent time with the United States Youth National Team and had stints with various professional clubs. He currently coaches the UTEP Women’s Soccer Team and runs the Olympic Development Program sessions for U.S. Soccer in El Paso.
The 12 Saturday and one Sunday Locomotive matches will air live on El Paso – Las Cruces CW channels 13 (Spectrum), 388 (Comcast), 8 (DirecTV), 17 (Dish), 19 (AT&T). The El Paso – Las Cruces CW is available to everyone in the El Paso and Las Cruces region on 7.2 over the air.
2020 TELEVISED MATCHES
March 14 vs Portland Timbers 2- 7:30 p.m.
March 21 at New Mexico United – 7:30 p.m.
April 4 vs LA Galaxy II- 7:30 p.m.
May 23 vs Real Monarchs- 7:30 p.m.
June 13 vs San Antonio FC- 7:30 p.m.
June 27 vs Tacoma Defiance- 7:30 p.m.
July 18 vs Las Vegas Lights FC- 7:30 p.m.
July 25 vs Sacramento Republic- 7:30 p.m.
August 8 vs Phoenix Rising- 7:30 p.m.
August 22 vs Orange County SC- 7:30 p.m.
September 5 vs FC Tulsa- 7:30 p.m.
September 12 vs New Mexico United- 7:30 p.m.
October 17 vs Austin Bold- 7:30 p.m.
The Locomotive’s first home match is 30 days away on March 14 and fans interested in attending the 17 home matches can purchase tickets online or at the box offices at Southwest University Park.
Season Ticket Memberships and Group Tickets are still available and can be purchased via this link or by calling or texting 915-235-GOAL.
Tuesday morning officials with El Paso Locomotive announced that Louis “Chapa” Herrera had returned from a trial with MLS side Los Angeles Football Club (LAFC).
Last year, LAFC finished in first place in the Western Conference.
“I am very proud that Chapa had the opportunity to spend a week with LAFC, who on last season’s form were the best team in MLS. It’s a credit to the work and application that Chapa displayed last season, his growth in his first year as a pro was tremendous. For that to be recognized is fully deserved and a is testament to Chapa and the culture we have created here in El Paso,” said head coach Mark Lowry.
The 23-year-old midfielder appeared for El Paso in 28 matches and netted one goal in his first professional season.
The homegrown talent returned to the Locomotive squad ahead of their preseason match against USL Western Conference club and Copa Tejas rival, San Antonio FC.
Chapa has two goals in two preseason friendlies in 2020.
With the 2020 first home match on March 14th only 32 days away, Season Ticket Memberships, Group Tickets, and Individual Match Tickets can be purchased online or by calling or texting 915-235-GOAL
On Wednesday, El Paso Locomotive FC traveled to Tucson to face FC Cincinnati, in the club’s first match against an MLS squad.
The preseason friendly remained 0-0 at the half with possession evenly split amongst the clubs. Defender Drew Beckie netted a goal in the 62nd minute but the goal was retracted when it was called offside. FC Cincinnati scored in the 81st minute to bring the score to 0-1.
The match ended 0-1 but Locomotive FC held their own against the MLS side with the full roster getting minutes.
New signing Marios Lomis made his Locomotive debut and joined Distel Zola, Fabrice Fokobo and Saeed Robinson as the new signees for the 2020 season.
“I thought the guys were phenomenal in the work they did defensively. Everything they worked on in the last two weeks they implemented today and in the second half, we actually started to control the game and create chances and dominated the ball a bit more. In really what was our first true test, true preseason game against good opposition, I thought the guys looked after themselves and did very well,” said head coach Mark Lowry.
Locomotive FC returns to El Paso to face USL rival San Antonio FC in their next preseason match on Friday, February 7th. The regular season kicks off at home on Saturday, March 14th at 7:30 pm against Portland Timbers 2 at Southwest University Park.
With the home opener for year two only weeks away, Season Ticket Memberships, Group Tickets, and Individual Match Tickets can be purchased online or by calling 915-235-GOAL.
On Tuesday afternoon, El Paso Locomotive FC unveiled their app, available for download in the Apple and Google Play store, and a new documentary on the team.
“The El Paso Locomotive App gives fans access to exclusive team content, a platform to purchase tickets, and all things Loco in the palm of their hands; from rosters to starting lineups and more,” team officials announced Tuesday.
One of the first exclusives to hit the app is the full release of the ‘El Paso United’ documentary by Reel Life and USL Championship which highlights the healing and comradery of the El Paso community after the August 3rd attack.
A one-minute teaser is currently on all Locomotive social media channels. The full documentary can only be viewed on the app at this time. With the app, fans can also receive special offers and participate in exclusive contests to win prizes.
On Wednesday afternoon, El Paso Locomotive FC continued to add depth by signing pacey Jamaican midfielder Saeed Robinson, pending league and federation approval.
“By signing a player like Saeed, we are continuing our mission of bringing top-notch talent to El Paso. Saeed is an out and out offensive threat that can dribble or shoot and he gives us more depth on our roster. Saeed has proven that he can compete at this level and is a player with loads of pace. I am thrilled to have him in the team,” said Head Coach Mark Lowry.
Robinson spent the past two seasons with USL Championship side Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC where he featured 59 times and scored eight goals. Prior to his professional debut, Robinson played his collegiate career with West Texas College and Grand Canyon University.
Robinson is now the 18th rostered player for the 2020 campaign, joining newcomers Distel Zola, Fabrice Fokobo and Marios Lomis.
Fourteen members of the inaugural team have re-signed for the second season, keeping the core of the successful first-year team intact.
Season Ticket Memberships, Group Tickets, and Individual Match Tickets can be purchased online or by calling or texting 915-235-GOAL
El Paso Locomotive FC continues fortifying and building on the success of the inaugural season by bringing back two additional members of the pilot squad that made it to the 2019 Western Conference Final.
Memo Diaz and Moses Makinde have re-signed for the 2020 season.
Local Gadsen product and fan favorite, Diaz featured for the Locos five times in the inaugural campaign and started in the away match versus a Reno 1868 FC side who were sitting in the top three of the Western Conference.
Diaz was instrumental in keeping things scoreless and helped the Locos come away with a hard-fought draw on the road.
“Memo worked extremely hard last season to be an important part of the group. His effort and desire to improve made it an easy decision for me to bring him back. He is a popular member of the squad and deserves a second year. I’m excited to see him grow again,” said Head Coach Mark Lowry.
Makinde joined El Paso Locomotive in early July by way of trade with Tulsa Roughnecks (FC Tulsa) and was called on countless times to step into the Locomotive backline who dealt with injury throughout the season.
Makinde was relied on when El Paso’s James Kiffe received a red card 51 minutes into the Western Conference Final and had to play 70 minutes down to the wire.
“Moses is a player who is very interesting. He possesses so many good attributes, but I don’t think he has ever been in an environment that can push him, take him past his comfort zone and really challenge him to see how good he can really be. We are going to do that and I’m excited to see how that journey develops,” said Lowry.
Season Ticket Memberships, Group Tickets, and Individual Match Tickets can be purchased online or by calling or texting 915-235-GOAL