With the second pick in Thursday’s Major League Soccer SuperDraft in Indianapolis, Chivas USA made good on its pledge to pick a Mexican American player by selecting midfielder Carlos Alvarez, a former Salesian High School star from East Los Angeles and the University of Connecticut.
The New England Revolution, which traded up to get the first pick, used that selection on the University of Louisville’s Andrew Farrell, a defender considered by many to be the best player available.
Since Mexican businessman Jorge Vergara took full control of the team last fall, Chivas USA has said it would return to its founding principles by bringing a Mexican style of play to MLS. So Vergara, who also owns the Chivas franchise in the Mexican league, revamped the team’s front office and coaching staff, and in its first draft under new Coach Jose Luis Sanchez Sola, the team moved to implement that philosophy on the field by picking Alvarez, the son of a former Chivas de Guadalajara player.
“I’m happy to come back home and be with my family and happy to represent this jersey,” the 22-year-old Alvarez said. “It’s something I’m proud of. I know how big this organization is going back to Chivas de Guadalajara. We need to build that winning mentality.”
Chivas will begin its first training camp under Sanchez Sola on Friday and the coach said he’s happy Alvarez will be taking part.
“He was a player that wanted to be with Chivas USA and we all wanted him to be here,” he said. “We scouted a number of players … and only a few, in my opinion, are ready to be in a starting 11 in this league. Carlos is one of them.
“He has a lot of character on the field. He is a player that has excellent ball control and attacks forward.”
A two-time all-CIF pick at Salesian, where he led the team to four league titles, Alvarez was called into camp for the U-20 national teams of both the U.S. (2008) and Mexico (2009). At Connecticut, he played in 21 games last season, scoring seven goals and recording nine assists. He was named the Big East Conference’s Midfielder of the Year and was an all-conference first-team selection.