Sam Hamilton is all about the grind.
Whether it’s working his way into a starting role or recovering from a nasty injury, the 26-year-old New Mexico United defender/midfielder is happy with the process.
Of course, he had some eye-catching moments. In 2019, Hamilton scored the game-winning goal against MLS foes FC Dallas in United’s emotional run to the quarter-finals of the US Open Cup.
“Yeah, that was a good one,” Hamilton acknowledged.
It was one of three goals he’s scored since signing with NMU for his inaugural season, but the Colorado native and University of Denver alum doesn’t tend to weigh his performance on base. of one big game.
Even last season, when Hamilton missed the final three months of action after breaking his leg in a July game at Isotopes Park, he was proud to have gone through rehab and be on the active roster for United’s season finale. Now fully recovered, Hamilton is the team’s vice-captain and played all 180 minutes in NMU’s wins over Las Vegas and El Paso. He hasn’t scored or even shot so far, but Hamilton says he’ll be happy to do the dirty work if it means a successful 2022 campaign.
Question: How did you start playing football?
“I tried a lot of sports. I’m from a small town in northern Colorado, so I skied a lot growing up. I played basketball, cross country, my mom put us on the swim team, but for me it was always football. I’m the younger brother and my brother liked it, so I liked it. I started when I was 3 or 4 and have been playing ever since.
Do you have a personal highlight so far?
“I wouldn’t say there’s as much of a specific highlight as the whole trip. I think there are players capable of great special moments throughout the year. I’m capable of that, I’d say, but that’s not really why I’m here. For me, it’s the number of good games accumulated that is important. In the end, did I make enough plays to have a positive impact on the game? »
As a player who likes to work for a long season, was it difficult to deal with last season’s injury (left fibula fracture)?
“When it happened, I knew straight away it was broken and there’s a moment where you wonder if you’ll ever play again. It was hard. But the hardest part was that first month or so. after surgery, where you just have to wait. It was horrible. I need to exercise and compete to feel like myself. When you start to make progress, even moving just your toes, I felt good about it and ultimately the healing process was a beautiful thing.
You played three professional seasons before signing with United. What did you know of New Mexico at that time?
“I lived in El Paso for nine months in sixth grade, so we went through New Mexico on trips. That was really it. I didn’t know what to think when I signed but I like people and the state. New Mexico is one of the most authentic states in the country. You don’t get people trying to act like something they’re not, which I think is refreshing.
You were with United the whole time and served as vice-captain. What is your first opinion of the club this season?
I’m really excited for this year. As for the group, it’s the most optimistic I’ve been. From a financial point of view, I am convinced that the club can support itself and grow. Having (a new clubhouse) right next to the field with a movie theater, weights and a workout room is a game changer for us. I have a ton of energy and I’m really fired up, but that being said, that doesn’t mean anything unless we go out and play. This is the bottom line.
Sam Hamilton at a glance
26, engaged, family lives in Denver
Favorite sports team: Denver Broncos
Non-sporting hobbies: I like cooking.
The coolest place you’ve visited: The Virgin Islands
Favorite movie: I love the Batman series with Christian Bale. I haven’t seen the new one yet but I will.
Dream car: I would love to have a truck, a (Toyota) Tundra or (Ford) F250, something like that.
Something scares you? Um no. Not really.
Red or green pepper? Green
Saturday: Orange County FC at NM United
4 p.m. ESPN+ (broadcast), Estrella TV, 101.7 FM