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Home | Tag Archives: mountain star sports

Tag Archives: mountain star sports

El Paso USL Continues to Expand Roster, Signs Defender Navarro

El Paso USL has signed defender, Daniel Navarro of Hyannis, Massachusetts, who saw his most recent action playing with Miami United (NPSL).

Prior to his time with Miami United, Daniel played for SC Sao Paulo in Campeonato Brasilerio Serie D and Campeonato Gaucho in Brazil.  Daniel also brings with him NASL experience where he played with the Fort Lauderdale Strikers.

Daniel Navarro joins Omar Salgado and Derek Gebhard, pending league and federation approval, bringing the roster to three signed players thus far for the 2019 season.

This defensive addition to the team, as stated by El Paso USL Coach Mark Lowry, “will be a crucial part of the group we are putting together here in El Paso.  He played at a good level in Brazil and spent time in the NASL, so he is familiar with playing in the US.  As a center back, he is a fierce competitor who is strong in the air and good in 1v1 situations, but even more importantly for us, he is comfortable with the ball at his feet and playing out of the back.  He will add a healthy competition for places within our squad.”

The 27-year-old defender was born in the United States of America and returned to his family’s home country of Brazil at age two, where he spent much of his life and professional career.

“I am so glad to have signed with El Paso USL,” said Daniel.  “I already have experience playing in the USA, but this will be my first time in the USL and seeing a new club come together is exciting for me as a player.  I believe the El Paso community has a lot of expectations for us.  Combining our work and their support will be important for us to have a great first season.”

Andrew Forrest Named General Manager, Business Operations for El Paso USL Team

On Wednesday, MountainStar Sports Group President, Alan Ledford, announced that Andrew Forrest has been hired as General Manager, Business Operations for the new El Paso USL organization.

“Andrew’s accomplishments in professional soccer team business management and his extensive experience in sales and operations will drive an effective organization for El Paso USL,” said Alan Ledford, President of MountainStar Sports Group. “We are excited to have Andrew join our organization as we prepare for the inaugural season of professional soccer in El Paso in March of 2019.”

Mr. Forrest comes to El Paso from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga where he was most recently employed as General Manager for Learfield Sports.

Prior to that, he worked for the San Antonio Scorpions Professional Soccer Team as Director of Sponsorship and then as Vice President and Assistant General Manager.  He held previous positions with Playbook Management International, as Senior Account Executive with the San Antonio Scorpions and as Consultant with FC Edmonton and in the cities of Baltimore and Dallas.

Mr. Forrest is a graduate of Roanoke College (Salem, Virginia) and he earned an M.S. in Kinesiology – Sport Leadership from James Madison University (Harrisonburg, Virginia).

“With the help of Marquee Search, we conducted outreach nationwide to fill this critical position for El Paso USL,” added Ledford.  “We believe Andrew’s experience and background make him an excellent choice to get our organization up and running.”

Mr. Forrest joins Sarah Nollner, Manager of Business Operations, who was the first hire for MountainStar Sports Group’s USL operation earlier this year.  She joined El Paso USL from Major League Soccer/Soccer United Marketing in New York City where she was the Marketing and Media Consultant for the Mexican National Team, Copa America Centenario, and Gold Cup.

Prior to that, she worked with Club Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles in US Business Operations.  Ms. Nollner is a graduate of University of Kentucky and earned her MBA in Sports at San Diego State University.

The El Paso USL staff also includes Ryan Schmitz, Sales and Service Representative.  Mr. Schmitz came to El Paso from Boulder, Colorado, where he worked in sales for Xfinity and Assurance Wireless.  Before that, he was employed by the Reno Aces (MiLB) and Reno 1868 (USL) as Communications Coordinator.

Mr. Schmitz held previous public relations positions with the University of Florida Athletic Association, the Seattle Mariners and the Denver Broncos.  Schmitz is a graduate of the University of Missouri.

El Paso USL fans interested in placing a Season Seat Deposit can do so online or by calling 915-235-GOAL.  Prices and packages will be announced soon.

El Pasoans Get Opportunity to ‘Name the Team’ for City’s New USL Franchise

Officials with Mountain Star Sports officially kicked off the Name the Team Contest for the El Paso United Soccer League (USL) team which will debut in 2019.

“Since we announced USL Soccer was coming to El Paso, we have been asked repeatedly about the name of the team,” said Alan Ledford, President of MountainStar Sports Group. “It’s time to engage El Pasoans in the process and we are excited to launch the Name the Team contest.  The team’s name should reflect the tradition of the sport, yet also be genuinely representative of El Paso – whether it be inspired by the community’s history, unique culture, landscape, or aspirations for the future.”

The contest is open through April 5, 2018, fans can log in to enter their ideas for the name of El Paso’s new USL Team.  Fans are also encouraged to visit the USL Team Page to see a full list of teams from across the country.

The final team name selected will dictate the team’s colors, crest, uniforms, and mascot, all of which will be revealed later this year after the team name is announced this summer.

“This is El Paso’s soccer team and it is very important to us that El Pasoans play a role in helping us select the right name,” added Ledford. “And based on the support the community has demonstrated for its Triple-A Baseball team, we certainly expect they will embrace this team, its name, and the spirit of USL.  This is about hometown pride.”

The criteria for selecting a team name include name popularity based on public entries and voting, creativity, how well the name represents El Paso, and family-friendliness.

Officials add, “While the public input is an important element of the decision-making process, MountainStar Sports Group will make the ultimate name selection based on the aforementioned criteria and USL approval. In the case that the final name was not submitted by the public, all those qualified participants who submitted names will be entered into a drawing for the grand prize.”

“The response we’ve had to date for El Paso USL has been tremendous.  Opening Day 2019 will be here before we know it, and we look forward to the inaugural season and all it will offer to soccer fans not only in El Paso, but throughout the region,” added Ledford.

The entry period will conclude at 11:59pm on Thursday, April 5, 2018 and will be followed by a second phase of the process in which the top-ranked names will be voted on by the public.  The selected name will be announced this summer.

The person selected as the winner will win the grand prize, which includes 2 season seats for the 2019 season, 2 official jerseys, and the winner’s picture taken with the team during the 2019 season.

Official Rules for the contest may be found online and require that participants must be at least 18 years of age to enter.  In addition, participants who are under 18 years of age are encouraged to participate as long as they and their parents or legal guardians comply with the Official Rules.  Multiple entries are permissible.

Those who do not wish to enter online can also submit an entry by sending a standard size postcard with name, address, city, state, and zip code, day and evening phone number, and email address to El Paso USL, Name the Team Contest, 1 Ballpark Plaza, El Paso, Texas, 79901.



Those interested in placing a Season Seat Deposit to be among the first to select their season tickets can do so with a $50 per seat deposit online or may call 915-235-GOAL.

Ticket prices and packages will be announced in the coming months.

USL, MountainStar Sports Announce Outdoor Professional Soccer Franchise for El Paso in 2019

United Soccer League (USL) officials announced Wednesday that El Paso will be the next addition to the league for the 2019 season, continuing the USL’s growth in the Southwest United States.

The new club will be led by MountainStar Sports Group (MSSG), which also owns and operates the El Paso Chihuahuas, the Triple-A affiliate of the San Diego Padres of Major League Baseball. The group is also a minority owner of FC Juaréz of Mexico’s Liga Ascenso.

El Paso is the fourth team to join the USL for the 2019 season, and the second this year after the announcement on January 8 of the addition of Memphis, Tennessee to join Birmingham, Alabama and Austin, Texas in the league next year.

El Paso’s addition to the league bolsters the USL’s expanding footprint in the Southwest, and adds another respected, experienced ownership group to the league’s world-class leadership.

“It is with distinct pleasure and great enthusiasm that we welcome the illustrious city of El Paso to the USL family,” said USL CEO Alec Papadakis. “The distinguished ownership group comprised of Woody Hunt, Josh Hunt, Paul Foster and Alejandra De la Vega-Foster add to the world-class ownership groups already present in the USL, and in MountainStar Sports Group President Alan Ledford the group includes one of the most admired executives in professional baseball, whose leadership helped the El Paso Chihuahuas to be recognized as one of MiLB’s most successful teams and to average in the top five in attendance in the Pacific Coast League each of the past four seasons. Add to that the group’s experience in building FC Juarez of Mexico’s Liga Ascenso into a strong organization over the past three years, and the tremendous passion for civic responsibility MountainStar Sports Group has shown throughout its history, I have no doubt this group will propel its new USL team to remarkable achievements both on and off the field in the coming years.”

Josh Hunt, MSSG Chairman and CEO, said, “Since our inception, improving the quality of life in our region and promoting economic development have been our core objectives. We’re very proud to bring this high level of professional soccer to El Paso and to be a part of the USL.”

“Our market has demonstrated the extraordinary way it supports its sports teams, and given the popularity of soccer throughout this region, we expect Division II USL soccer to be very popular,” said Alan Ledford. “MountainStar Sports Group is excited about this opportunity to bring some of the best players in the country to play in front of some of the best fans in the country.”

As part of a regional economic development initiative, MountainStar Sports Group launched a successful effort to bring Minor League Baseball to El Paso in 2011. In 2012, the Group acquired the Tucson Padres, the Triple-A Baseball affiliate of the San Diego Padres.

The team began play as the El Paso Chihuahuas in a new, $78 million state-of-the-art Ballpark in the heart of downtown El Paso in the spring of 2014. In 2015, MSSG and a group of Mexican investors acquired an expansion franchise from the Mexican Futbol Federation. The Ascenso MX club began play as Los Bravos de Juarez in the Benito Juarez Olympic Stadium the same year.

Woody Hunt is Executive Chairman of the Board of Hunt Companies, Inc. He currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors for Complete College America, is a foundation trustee of the College for all Texans Foundation, and a member of the Board of Visitors of the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center-Houston.

He previously served as Chairman of the Texas Business Leadership Council, where he now serves on the Executive Committee. He is co-chair and PAC chair for Texas Aspires (formerly Texas Institute for Education Reform and Texans for Education Reform); a member of the Board of Directors for El Paso Electric (Nasdaq: EE) and WestStar Bank; and is a member of the Executive Council of No Labels. He serves on the Executive Committee of the Borderplex Regional Economic Alliance.

Paul Foster is the President of Franklin Mountain Management, LLC. He is the founder and former Executive Chairman of Western Refining, Inc., and currently serves on the Board of Directors for Andeavor, a premier U.S. refining, marketing, and logistics company. He is also on the Boards of Jordan Foster, Vomaris, Inc., Westar Bank, and the Dallas Federal Reserve Bank, El Paso Branch. Mr. Foster previously served as Chairman of The University of Texas System Board of Regents, and currently serves as Vice Chairman.

Previously, he served as the Chairman of the University of Texas Investment Management Company (UTIMCO). He is a member of the Executive Committee of the Borderplex Regional Economic Alliance, and a member of the World Presidents’ Organization.

Alejandra De la Vega-Foster is the Vice President of Almacenes Distribuidores de la Frontera, owner and operator of convenience stores in Ciudad Juaréz and northern Chihuahua, Mexico. She also owns the Domino’s Pizza franchise in Juarez and holds the franchise rights for La Madeleine Country French Café in El Paso, southern New Mexico, and Arizona. She is currently a member of the Hospitals of Providence Governing Board, and a member of The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center Board of Visitors.

She is involved in Desarrollo Economico de Juarez, serves on the Executive Committee of the Borderplex Regional Economic Alliance and is a member of the Young Presidents’ Organization. In 2016, Mrs. De la Vega – Foster was appointed by the Governor of the State of Chihuahua, Mexico to serve as Secretary of Innovation and Economic Development for the electoral period of 2016-2021. She also serves as the Chair of Los Bravos, and is the past president and CEO of Club de Futbol Cobras of Ciudad Juarez, a team promoted to the Primera Division in its first season. Mrs. De la Vega-Foster also previously served on the Board of the Mexican Futbol Federation.

Josh Hunt serves as Executive Vice President and Member of the Board of Directors for Hunt Companies, Inc. He is also President of the Hunt Family Foundation. Josh Hunt is also on the board of directors of Minor League Baseball’s Pacific Coast League, and is a board member of the Borderplex Regional Economic Alliance; member of the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) President’s Athletic Advisory Council; Hospitals of Providence Governing Board; a founding board member of the El Paso Children’s Museum; chairman of the Medical Center of the Americas Foundation Board and Texas Tech Foundation Board; Board Chair of WestStar Home Loans (a subsidiary of WestStar Bank); and currently co-chairs the Center Against Sexual & Family Violence Capital Campaign. Josh Hunt is also a member of the Young Presidents Organization.

Alan Ledford is President of MountainStar Sports Group, and President of Leg Up Entertainment, a division of MountainStar Sports Group. He is a former Vice President of Business Operations for Major League Baseball’s Oakland Athletics, and the former President, Chief Operating Officer, and General Manager of the Sacramento River Cats and its home ballpark, Raley Field. During Ledford’s nearly nine-year tenure with the River Cats, the team led all Minor League Baseball in attendance and revenue generation.

In 2006, Ledford was named Minor League Baseball Executive of the Year by Baseball America. Alan Ledford previously worked in professional soccer, helping the Portland Timbers (then a USL club) become successful on and off the field before its ascent to Major League Soccer.

***Expanded Coverage: What is the USL?  by Diego Sanchez – Special to the Herald-Post 

Padres and Chihuahuas Extend Player Development Contract

The San Diego Padres and the El Paso Chihuahuas have agreed to extend the Player Development Contract to run through the 2018 season.

“From ownership and senior management, through their on-field staff and players, the Padres organization has been a terrific partner,” said MountainStar Sports Group President Alan Ledford. “This relationship is unique as it goes well beyond the typical affiliation due to the Padres active involvement in the El Paso community and Borderplex region.  On the field, the excitement continues to build this season and into the future.”

“We are pleased to extend our partnership with the Chihuahuas and to maintain El Paso as the home of our Triple-A club…” said Padres President and CEO Mike Dee.

Dee added, “The next several years will be exciting ones for our player development system, as the amateur talent A.J. (Preller) and his team have acquired with the support of ownership makes its way through the system, and we are looking forward to seeing many talented players come through Southwest University Park. The Chihuahuas organization, led by the first-class ownership of the Foster and Hunt families, is a perfect partner.”

“Over the past few years, our baseball operations department has invested a significant amount of time and resources to ensure consistency in approach, message and mentality across the player development system, and the Chihuahuas have been great partners in that effort,” said Padres Executive Vice President/General Manager Preller. “The winning atmosphere in El Paso that Alan, Brad and the entire organization have created is important for our developing players to experience as they make their way to San Diego.”

The Chihuahuas have been the Padres’ Triple-A affiliate since MountainStar Sports Group acquired the team in 2013 as the Tucson Padres, renewing the PDC through the end of the 2016 campaign.

“The Chihuahuas and the city of El Paso are fortunate to partner with the Padres,” said Brad Taylor, El Paso Chihuahuas general manager. “­They have provided us with top prospects, winning teams, playoff contenders and have generously helped with community efforts in our region. El Paso is important to the Padres and they live this with the Chihuahuas.”

Since making the move to El Paso, 18 former Chihuahuas have made their Major League debut with the Padres. The Chihuahuas, who are 62-50, look to finish the season .500 or better for the third consecutive season and the fourth year in a row by a Padres Triple-A affiliate, a feat which has not happened since 1981-1984.

Furthermore, the Chihuahuas are on pace to reach the playoffs for the second straight year, which a Padres’ Triple-A affiliate has not done since Las Vegas made the playoffs in 1987-1988.

Strip tickets and individual game tickets for the 2016 Pacific Coast League (PCL) playoffs are currently on sale. For more information, call (915) 533-BASE or visit our website at

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