Tinari’s skills led him from Strong Island to the Southwest

Andrew Tinari grew up on Long Island, attended college in New York City, and started his professional career with the New York Red Bulls organization. After a one-year stint in Tampa, Strong Island’s own finds himself in the Southwest, starring for New Mexico United.

A native of Holbrook, New York, Tinari had the big city and the water within driving distance, when he wasn’t starring for Sachem East High School. “There’s nothing like home,” he told BGN. “I was able to enjoy both the beaches and NYC whenever I pleased and I’ll never take that for granted.” Not only does Long Island produce quality soccer players, but they also are known for exporting some great music. While legends of hip hop like Rakim and Chuck D hail from Long Island, Tinari made sure to shoutout one of his favorites from the area and his friend, LOU!E.

Andrew didn’t go too far away for college, deciding to become an Ivy Leaguer at Columbia University. He explained, “Columbia was a bit of a unique experience. Like most universities, the hardest part was getting accepted. However, with its workload and soccer, I was forced to truly understand what time management meant, which I’m grateful for.” Now, he has something that not many professional athletes have: an Ivy League degree. “Upon graduation, I received my BA in Architecture. I was not originally going down the Architecture path, I went into school ready to study Economics but felt with my art and creative background it was a definite time for a switch,” Tinari said.

With that degree in hand, he went on to lay the foundation for his professional career with New York Red Bulls II. Tinari scored nine goals and added six assists across his two years with NYRBII. Last season, he scored five goals and registered five assists for the Tampa Bay Rowdies before he decided to join New Mexico United for 2020, earning the honor of the best USL Championship player from the state of New York, courtesy of the USL’s Nicholas Murray, along the way.

Obviously, this has been anything but a normal year. But, Tinari has enjoyed his time in the Southwest so far, on and off the pitch. “My time in Albuquerque has been very nice. Obviously the virus has put a strain on truly being able to explore the city, but I have been able to really take advantage of what the state has to offer nature wise,” he said, adding that playing the Florida mid-summer humidity has prepared him for any hot weather he’ll ever face.

Despite only being 24 years old, Tinari has definitely seen a lot in his soccer already. But, he prefers to lead by example with his work ethic and match performance rather than be a vocal guy in the locker room. Tinari’s played in all six matches for New Mexico so far and has one goal, five key passes, and is completing 82% of his passes. The club sits atop the Group C table with ten points and Tinari has an idea of how they can keep that success going and get to the postseason. “The main thing is that we have stuck to who we are as a team and maintained our identity,” he said. “I think we all appreciate and understand our roles and we have and will continue to hold ourselves and each other accountable daily. With that said we have a long way to go before we consider ourselves and this season a success.”

Unfortunately, the passionate fan base of the second-year club isn’t able to support in person like they normally would. While that’s a struggle that most clubs are dealing with, New Mexico United has established itself as one of the most creative clubs when it comes to engaging with the supporters and that’s not lost on the players. Tinari said, “New Mexico is better than most teams in any league in this country when it comes to their outreach and marketing. Our fans again are some of the best in any league in this country and are truly willing to interact and support us in any way possible.”
“The community this organization has built is incredible and the media engagement is just one of the many ways we are able to see what they have created here in New Mexico.”
Tinari and New Mexico United will look to bounce back after a loss to Phoenix Rising FC when they face Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC tomorrow. Kickoff is set for 3 PM MT and the match is live on ESPN+ and KOAT Channel 7 in New Mexico.

Author

Carson A Merk

Reporting live from Sin City, I have covered both RGVFC and Las Vegas Lights FC since their inceptions. I also write profiles to highlight players from the NCAA to USL to NWSL and everywhere in between.