Player Spotlight: Yordany Alvarez – Part 1

Today I start my first official series of posts: Player Spotlights!  I decided that people would enjoy learning more and more about their favorite players on the Real Salt Lake squad during midweek stretches like the one we are experiencing right now when news is sparse.  For each player I will first write up a part one post with general information ranging from their backround to stats.  I then hope to create a part two series in which I can personally interview each of the players.  Onto Yordany now!

Yordany Alvarez was born in Cienfuegos, Cuba, on May 24, 1985.  Not much if anything at all has been published about Y. Alvarez’ childhood in Cuba.  However, he played for his local professional club FC Cienfuegos.

Yordany featured for his native nation’s U-23 team.  In 2008, the night after a CONCACAF match-up against the United States Under-23 national team, Yordany along with six other Cuban teammates ran away from their team’s hotel and weren’t heard of for some time. He escaped first with a group of five Cubans.  The next day, two others followed suit.

After defecting to the United States, Alvarez was protected by the wet foot dry foot ruling that allows Cubans in the USA to obtain asylum.

Upon reaching the US, Yordany and two of his fellow defectors trialed with Los Angelas Galaxy.  None of them made the team.  Later in March of 2009 Alvarez attended the Austin Aztecs’ open tryout as they entered the USL First Division as an expansion team.  Yordany played the next two seasons with the Aztecs until they were relocated to Orlando City and rebranded as Orlando City S. C.  The Cuban finished out the 2011 season with his USL D1 side that ended up winning the title.  He was named MVP of the season.

Shortly after his great season with Orlando City Alvarez trialed with Real Salt Lake.  After impressing, he was signed to a loan agreement in a similar fashion to the way that Paulo Jr. got onto the RSL squad.

Alvarez was soon found to be a perfect replacement for starter and team captain Kyle Beckerman, whose absences are now much more frequent due to call-ups with the United States Men’s National Team.  During the recent off-season, Yordany signed a contract with Real.

I really didn’t quite understand all the praise Alvarez near the end of last season.  But during the preseason fixtures he was fantastic!  He was excellent at controlling the ball and redistributing it and making space for his teammates.  I was especially impressed with his vision.  At one point in the first Desert Diamond Cup game against New York there was a heap of players battling for possession of the ball just outside the New York 18-yard box.  Out of nowhere came Yordany Alvarez crashing through whatever was between him and the ball.  He sent a blistering strike just wide of the left post.  The NYRB netminder had no time to react.  I don’t think he even saw the ball until it was out of bounds.  For some reason it was at that moment that I knew he’d be a perfect fit for RSL.

Good luck to you, Mr. Alvarez this season!


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