EP Locomotive FC Team returns


EP Locomotive announces the new head coach in December 2021. John Hutchinson has joined the El Paso soccer league. Photo Courtesy of EP Locomotive FC.

Kianna Verdugo

On March 19, the El Paso Locomotive soccer team will kick off their first home game of the season at Southwest University Park.

Their first game is March 12th in San Antonio against New Mexico United.

After having a preseason game with New Mexico United on February 26, they will face them once again in the regular season.

This season, fans can expect to see the new Head Coach and Technical Director, John Hutchinson, who is an Australian native.

With 25 years as a player and coach, his international experience will potentially lead them through the fourth USL Championship campaign.

Additionally, he will assist in developing the Locomotive Youth Soccer and Locomotive USL Academy Teams.

Teamed with more than five leagues, he represented both Japanese and Australian top-flight leagues.

Previous to the Locomotive Head Coach position, he was First Team Assistant Coach to the Seattle Sounders, and soon moved to Japan where he was First Assistant Coach with Yokohama F. Marinos.

He joined J-League 1, the premier soccer league in Japan, and led their team to second place.

Before his coaching career, Hutchinson played professionally and began his career in 1996 as a central midfielder with Eastern Pride.

Moving to Northern Spirit FC in 2001, he made seventy-seven appearances and twelve goals.

He then signed with Central Coast Mariners FC in 2005.

Hutchinson finished his playing career in the Grand Final in 2013.

Previous to Coach John Hutchinson, the Locomotive soccer team had a successful 2021 season.

They were awarded the 2021 Copa Tejas Shield, a fan-sponsored trophy after competing against eight other teams.

With a new coach, a successful season may follow in 2021, with new and returning players.

Loretto sophomore Diana Maldonado said, “I am so excited to go back and see them play again.

With new people, I hope they have an undefeated season.”

Joining the team is midfielder Ander Egiluz, who began his career in 2016 in Spain.

Another new player is defender Martín Payares, coming from a soccer league in Colombia.

The team is able to host both Western and Eastern Conference teams they have not had the opportunity to play in their previous seasons.

Luckily, the Locomotive soccer team has returning players such as Diego Luna, who had his breakout rookie year in the 2021 season, and Sebastian Velasquez, whose offensive abilities led the team to their first Western Conference Final appearance.

The 2022 season signals new beginnings for coaches and players alike and one that fans can enjoy.