24 Under 24 - 2016 - Cristian Higuita
Rudy Calderon

Cristian Higuita | 24 Under 24

#21

Cristian Higuita

AGE: 22

COUNTRY: Colombia

POSITION: Midfielder

CLUB: Orlando City SC

YEARS PRO: 6

Higuita doesn't generally garner headlines for Orlando City, but make no mistake – he's one of the crucial pieces for the Lions, doing much of the dirty work in midfield to help shield the defense and free up the likes of Kaká to focus on attacking. With Orlando since they debuted in MLS in 2015, he's part of the new guard of defensive midfielders in MLS.

Higuita is one of the top European prospects in MLS as well. On the edge of the Colombian national team (he was an alternate for Colombia's Copa America Centenario squad this summer), Higuita, alongside Orlando City teammate Cyle Larin, is getting plenty of looks from clubs abroad. For now, though, Jason Kreis and Orlando City know they have a building block in the Cup contender they're building in Central Florida

What the technical staffers say:

“I haven’t really even viewed him as a young player, and maybe that’s a tribute to the way he plays and his mentality. I think he’s got a real strong and will to win type of mentality."

“I love him. Incredible ball winner, great engine, can just run and run and run. Gets out of tight spaces better than people realize, too. His feet are really, really nice. They’re soft. He can pass, for a guy who people think of as a defensive guy, he can play a final ball better than most.”

“I would say the only knock on the kid is that he can lose his mind in games. In terms of being baited into red cards and yellow cards, he’s got a temper. Which is a good thing for that position, for sure, but I think he needs to maybe get it under control a bit. But what a great player he is. He’s one who I think a lot of clubs would come for in some big leagues in the world.”

"He’s just difficult to play against because he’s got a really strong engine and it seems like he’s got a really strong killer instinct. I think he’s got potential, I’m just not sure what his ceiling looks like.”


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