Orange County SC announced perhaps their biggest signing of the offseason yet on Thursday, but also dropped a massive bombshell in the process. Carlos Alvarez joins the USL side for the 2017, but on loan from Los Angeles Football Club, Orange County’s MLS affiliate.
The result is that indirectly Alvarez is LAFC’s first-ever first-team signing. The club had previously announced they would be making signings this year and some of those players could play for Orange County SC, but given the wording of OCSC’s release, Alvarez, for now, is unmistakably an LAFC player and is likely signed to an MLS contract right now.
The move is a return home for Alvarez, who grew up in Los Angeles and after playing collegiately at UConn was drafted No. 2 overall by Chivas USA in 2013. He played for the defunct MLS club until July 2014, when he was traded to the Colorado Rapids. While there, he split his time with the Rapids’ USL affiliate, Charlotte Independence, in 2015, before moving to USL side San Antonio FC last year.
The 26-year-old is not a prolific scorer, but has scored a few timely goals in his career and has played in a variety of roles in midfield in his professional career. He is a bit of a tweener, perhaps best deployed as a box-to-box midfielder with playmaking capabilities for his side.
"We are delighted to add Carlos to our team as part of our partnership with LAFC," Orange County SC general manager and executive vice president of soccer operations Oliver Wyss said in a team statement on the signing. "Carlos’ vast experience in MLS and USL will elevate our already talented roster and we are excited for him to showcase his incredible talent to our fans in Orange County and Los Angeles."
“Carlos grew up here in Los Angeles, and we are excited to welcome him to OCSC as we know his development is in great hands with their leadership and coaching staff," LAFC general manager and executive VP of soccer operations John Thorrington said in the statement. "We are confident that Carlos will not only be a great addition for OC on the field through his play but also will provide valuable leadership to the younger players we hope to sign in the near future.”
While Alvarez is very much an Orange County SC player this year, it is still a monumental occasion for LAFC, as he’s officially the first player announced as on the expansion team. We’ll have more coverage of the signing in the days to come.
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