INDIANAPOLIS – Freshly minted Chivas USA head coach José Luis Sánchez Solá – a.k.a. "El Chelís" – stuck to his word in his first shot at the MLS SuperDraft on Thursday, drafting Mexican-American midfielder Carlos Alvarez out of the University of Connecticut with the second overall pick.
Alvarez, who emigrated to the United States from Mexico as a child and boasts a father who played for famed Mexican side Chivas Guadalajara, was named the Big East Midfielder of the Year as a senior with the Huskies in 2012. He led UConn to the Big East regular-season title and finished his collegiate career with 42 assists, third in school history.
He also neatly fits the mold of Chivas USA’s new focus on Mexican-American talent, preached by Chelís almost immediately after he was hired last month. The Goats’ new head coach told FutbolMLS.com earlier this week that he intended on drafting Alvarez and not North Carolina midfielder Mikey Lopez, widely considered a second option that could fit the Goats’ new focus on giving the Goats a more Mexican-American slant.
“Has his head up. And before he receives the ball, he knows what he's going to do with it,” Chelís said of Alvarez. "He goes forward. He's young. He's Mexican-American. From Los Angeles. His dad played for Chivas.
"But hopefully, even with all this, he can compete with the other 29 because Major League Soccer is totally different from college,” he added. “Totally different."
Alvarez, 22, was considered one of the top attacking midfielders in the draft this year, and he scored a goal and notched in assist in the first game of the combine in South Florida last week. A former Big East Rookie of the Year as a freshman, he scored seven goals and added nine assists as a senior last year while leading the Huskies the NCAA tournament quarterfinals.