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Player Profile: The Rise Of Edson Álvarez

edson-alvarez

The first time I ever saw Edson Alvarez play was in person, interestingly enough. In an exhibition game against Arizona United (now Phoenix Rising), Edson claimed a starting spot as a defender. Although he looked poised in the match, I had no idea how quickly the defender would jump onto the Mexico footballing scene in just a few months.

After waiting patiently on the bench for Club América, Edson got his opportunity in October 2016. Not only did he not let down, but he thrived with the club, stamping his spot in the XI of one of Mexico’s biggest clubs. Alvarez would go on to play in the Liga MX final against Tigres where he scored one of the most important goals of the season.

Although América would go on to lose the final, Edson got the attention of many Mexican fans in North America. At only 19 years old, his quick rise was one El Tri fans were hoping would continue, as it is rare young players see success in a such a short amount of time in Liga MX.

A busy 2017

Edson Alvarez Mexico Gold Cup

Edson Alvarez of Mexico jostling with El Salvador player Nelson Bonilla | Photo by Brittany Campbell for The Stoppage Time | July 9, 2017

In 2017, Edson continued his important role with his club, but it was the summer where Edson really got going. In June, he departed for the U-20 World Cup where he helped the Mexican national team reach the quarterfinals. Shortly after that, he was off to Russia with the senior team at the Confederations Cup to train.

“I learned a lot from (veterans like Márquez, Reyes etc.) as a footballer, but also as a person.”

After a lot of traveling, Edson made his way back to North America to help a domestic side roster in the 2017 Gold Cup in the United States. Right off the bat, he did his job in the group stages, even scoring a goal against Curaçao. Yet, there was one thing different with his role on the roster, and that was his positioning. His usual role as a center-back/defensive midfielder was switched to a right-back role in the starting XI.

“It’s not 100% my position (right-back), I’m more of a centre-midfielder, but I’ve always thought that if (Osorio) is confident where I play then I have to do my best where he puts me.”

The ability to tackle new obstacles in the starting XI with the El Tri, such as playing in a position he has never played before, is one reason why media and fans are excited for what Edson can do with the national team. Many people have compared him to another regular on the national team and former Club América defender Diego Reyes.

Mexico Edson Alvarez Gold Cup

Mexico’s Edson Alvarez defending against Jamaica’s Darren Mattocks during the Gold Cup Semifinal | Photo by Jorge Galvez for LA Soccer Nation | July 23, 2017

One thing is for certain, and that is if he continues to evolve his game, not only will he be the next Diego Reyes, but we may even get to see the two starting in the same lineup sooner than later.

*All quotes obtained firsthand at the 2017 Gold Cup (unless otherwise noted)

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