New Mexico Rush Soccer Club

News Detail


Jan, 2019

Q&A with NM Rush Alumni and 2019 MLS Draft pick , Sergio Rivas

Sullivan Question: Fondest memory of your career in NM Rush and Rush Soccer?
Sergio Answer: That's a really hard one because I've had a lot of good memories with the club over my 9 years at NM Rush.  A very good memory is Rush Fest in Kansas when I was a U13B.  It was very fun with all the other Rush teams my age and getting to meet other coaches from all over the country.  The Rush chants were awesome and getting to watch Kansas City's MLS team play with Kei Kamara was something I'll never forget as a youth player.  I also really enjoyed playing in the USYS Far West Regional U19B's final in ABQ as a U16B player back in 2014.  Having my coach Justin Sells, believe in my ability that much gave me a ton of confidence as a player.  It also gave me the opportunity to train with and compete against many college players which assured me I could definitely succeed at the NCAA Division I level.    
Sullivan Question: How would you describe your overall experience with NM Rush?
Sergio Answer:  I think it was life changing because they gave me an opportunity that nobody else did. They coaching staff at the club really took me in and helped me in other ways other club's would not.  The generosity and support of the club and my individual team was unmatched and is what allowed me to travel and participate in events throughout my youth career.  The coaches I specifically worked with at the club (including; Pancho Macias, Steve Kraemer, and Justin Sells) were all very good in developing my overall game both technically, tactically, and most importantly mentally.  When I graduated the club system at NM Rush I felt very prepared that my game and my knowledge of the game would easily translate to the next level.
Sullivan Question: Do you think without someone believing in you like NM Rush did that you'd be where you are today?
Sergio Answer: I honestly don't think I would because at the time I didn't have many people looking at me until Pancho Macias brought me into Rush. Coach Macias is really the coach the identified me as a young youth player.   He was watching me play with club America and he told me why don't you come in and we'll help you, develop your game, and mold you as an individual.  NM Rush is a huge part of who I am today both as a soccer player and more importantly as a person.  I really liked that the club was like a family environment.  All the coaches knew almost all the players throughout the entire club so they understood what the best player development options were for elite talent within the club.  That is what separates them from other club's in Albuquerque in my opinion.  
Sullivan Question:  How did your training environment in NM Rush prepare you for the next level?
Sergio Answer:  Coach Macias really improved my technical quality my first year with NM Rush when I was 11 years old.  He is a fantastic coach for young players and has worked hard to become an elite coach!  I was lucky to get to play the remainder of my youth career for NM Rush Technical Director, Justin Sells.  He's a very demanding coach.  Even to this day I tell people if you can play for Sells you can play for anybody in the country at any level.  I truly believe he is the coach that has made me the player I am today!  He prepares you technically, tactically, mentally, and physically every single day.  His expectations are very high.  His training sessions are run like a college and professional team.  Like I said earlier, I knew after playing for this club and staff my game would translate easily beyond the youth level.  
Sullivan Question:  What is one thing that a NM Rush instilled in you as a player?
Sergio Answer:  Like I said before, Justin Sells that guy I admire a lot for the way he is...  He's tenacious.   All of his staff are pretty much the same way! Sells taught me a lot of things about life and soccer.  Respect, simple things like how to respect your elders, how to respond yes ma'am and yes sir.  He taught me that the best players are always more prepared and enjoy the grind of competition!  Steve Kraemer taught me how to shake hands properly and how to look someone in the eye.  Pancho Macias taught me accountability.  The main theme at the club is there is no substitute for hard-work and commitment!  I believe I'm the person I am today largely due the playing environment fostered within this club.      
Sullivan Question: What are your thoughts on playing US Development Academy vs. NM Rush?
Sergio Answer: Well especially here in Albuquerque there are a lot of parents that ask if they should pull there kid out of NM Rush for options at a USSF DA.  I'll answer like this...if you son or daughter is really that good they will play college soccer coming out of NM Rush. They will give you options to be seen by college coaches throughout your club career through tournaments, leagues, and various other programs Rush Soccer offers (i.e. Rush Select or National Guesting).  You'll get seen by college coaches as part of this club if you stay focused on the process and listen to the staff.  It also really comes to how much work you put in as an individual player and the coaching you are getting each and everyday!  I trained every day of the week for three years with my team, NM Rush 94B, and the NM Rush 95B.  I know when I was coming up in the club they had already produced some top level players like; Ben Spencer Jr. (Molde FC / US U14-U19), Victoria Barba (SDSU), Josh Goss (UNM), Kyle Porter (Trinity), Lucas Seligman (UNM), Isaiah Madrid (FGCU / Valpo), and Justin Schmidt (Real Salt Lake).  One of my NM Rush 98B teammates Joe Ortiz, just finished playing in the NCAA Elite 8 with USAFA this past November.  For me, I always was amazed at how many great teams and players this smaller club produces.  It seemed to me that they were always focused on finding different ways to maximize my development.  
Sullivan Question: Best memory at Seattle U?
Sergio Answer:  Man there's too many...   Scoring my first college goal vs. Harvard.  I scored the first two goals of my career that match.  The first one was pretty good the second one was probably one of the best goals I've ever scored.  Second has to be also my freshman year I started every game, played in the NCAA Sweet 16 against Syracuse, and was named WAC Freshman of the Year.  First team to do that in Seattle U. Men's Soccer history that year...definitely something I'll never forget! 
Sullivan Question: Did you grow up a Lobo Soccer fan?
Sergio Answer:  Well it was always my dream to play for the Lobos. Growing up watching Devon Sandoval, Miguel Calderon playing here and it was always a dream.  My coach Justin Sells was one of the Lobo greats and I really wanted to follow in his foot steps.  I had a lot of meetings with Paul Souders and I loved that guy.  I also had meetings with Coach Fishbein but in the end it didn't work out. They didn't offer me the scholarship package that Seattle did at the time.  Going to Seattle was life changing.  I got to experience things that I would have never had the chance to here in ABQ.  Seattle U. offered me a full athletics scholarship which is something that was very big for me.  I felt as though the staff at Seattle U. believed in me!  It was also a place where I could get a fantastic education.  For kids thinking of where they are going to go the biggest thing I'll tell them is go where you are wanted.  If the coach is hesitant or unsure of how you fit into their system...don't go.  That's the biggest reason I decided to play at Seattle University.  For me going out of state to college was one of the best decision I have ever made.      
Sullivan Question:  Playing with the ABQ Sol FC this past summer at UNM in front of your friends and family was that something special to you?
Sergio Answer:  Of course.  Like I said, my dream was to play at UNM in front of my community.  And playing for the Sol in front of my family and friends was very special.  Coach Sells did a good job of getting local talent together and other top players from around the country.  With Coach Sells's leadership and the quality group he was able to put together this summer we really turned the club in an entire new direction.  I mean the last 2-3 years the team struggled and were often at the bottom of the league and division.  This year was so fun and the most positive thing was that we got results by taking third in the division and taking the Golden Rattler from FC Tucson for the first time in the Sol's five year history.  It was a blast!  
Sullivan Question: What's some goals you have with the start of your pro career?
Sergio Answer:  I'm so excited to get to work with Coaches Almeyda in San Jose and its USL Championship affiliate team Reno 1868 FC and coach Ian Russell.  MLS or USL Rookie of the Year would be dream come true.  I'm also looking forward to scoring my first MLS goal!  Winning a starting position on the Earthquakes for 2019 season would be great.  I would also really like to play in Europe before my professional career is over.  I also would love to play in Azteca Stadium someday.   




New Mexico Rush Soccer Club
4425 Prospect Ave. NE, Suite 155
Albuquerque, New Mexico 87110

Phone : 505-998-7285
Email: [email protected]


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