The new USL team in San Antonio has their first ever player as the club announced the signing of Carlos Alvarez on Tuesday morning. Alvarez joins from the Colorado Rapids, but spent the 2015 season on loan in the USL at Charlotte Independence.
Being drafted to the fated Chivas USA in 2013, the 25 year-old managed 40 appearances before moving on to Colorado but only made 11 appearances. That saw Alvarez move to Charlotte on loan, where he added 22 appearances, and managed two goals and four assists.
Alvarez was the number two draft pick from Chivas after a solid collegiate career while at the University of Connecticut. Alvarez was tapped as a key player in MLS when he was signed to a pre-contract ahead of the draft, and with Chivas focused on signing Hispanic players was always likely to end up there.
His drafting to Chivas was quite a story in US Soccer, when Chivas USA stated days ahead of the draft their intent to take Alvarez. With Alvarez not expected to have gone so high, Chivas USA took plenty of criticism for that decision and ruined chances of a trade, but that trade may have had little value to a club that was only going to survive one more season anyway.
That move to Chivas USA was not a disappointment for Alvarez, who expressed a desire to go there and had a solid year. Despite that Alvarez was shipped on to Colorado in 2014 before being sent on loan to Charlotte after failing to really get embedded in the Colorado starting XI.
On loan to Charlotte Alvarez got back on track and got back in to the starting side, recovering a career that had seemed to stalled. Those performances proved enough to make his next stop San Antonio, where he should expect to have an even larger role.
Alvarez has always seemed this player with promise, but had his career stalled slightly and hasn’t quite lived up to that promise. San Antonio coach Darren Powell was confident that he’ll play well and hinted about getting his career on track, “Carlos is a player I’ve admired and respected for a long time,” said Powell. “He is a creative attacking player that’s looking for a good run of games, and we envision him being a big part of our roster this season.”
Alvarez has proven himself to be a leader both on and off the field, which is something an expansion team like San Antonio will need. He also has an impressive football brain, able to execute moves on the field and play in a variety of tactical systems.
Perhaps the challenge in Alvarez’s career has been the lack of a side that is so keen to play on the ball. That seems likely to change in San Antonio, under Darren Powell, and Powell’s style should fit Alvarez, and San Antonio well.