Orlando City signs Cuban player Alvarez to 2014 MLS roster


Orlando City SC

Yordany Alvarez has scored 8 goals and had 7 assists thus far through his professional career.

Yordany Alvarez’s decision to rejoin Orlando City after a two-year stint with the MLS’s Real Salt Lake may have been a tough choice, but it was certainly not the most difficult decision he’s ever had to make.

Alvarez made the biggest decision of his life in March of 2008, when he defected from his home country of Cuba during an Olympic qualifying leg for the Cuban National in Tampa. While the decision was a difficult one to make, it is one that Alvarez says he couldn’t overthink.

“It’s a hard decision, it’s a decision that if you think about it you won’t do it, you just have to do it and that’s it,” said Alvarez in an interview with the Valencia Voice. “I kept chasing my dream, which was to get to this country and play in the MLS and thankfully I can keep after that dream.”

Despite his defection from Cuba, Alvarez still cheers on his fellow countrymen when they play World Cup or Olympic qualifying games. He even had the chance to meet up with a few of his old teammates when the Cuban National team went to Salt Lake City during World Cup qualifying last year.

It does upset the Cienfuegos, Cuba native that he can’t actually represent his country on the National team, but he does still have faith that one day things will change to the point that he can return to his homeland and play soccer for his country.

Now the 28-year old Cuban is back with the first manager he ever had after his defection from Cuba.

Orlando City manager Adrian Heath was Alvarez’ first-ever coach after he left Cuba, spending time with him both as part of the Austin Aztex’s and Orlando City Lions. This was one of the things that helped bring Alcarez back to The City Beautiful.

“That was one of the main reasons I returned to this team,” said Alvarez about his former and now current coach. “On this team I feel good, I feel like the organization wants me, especially the coach. When you have a coach that wants you on the team, your confidence rises.”

Alvarez knows Orlando well, he spent the 2011 USL Pro season with the Lions, helping lead them to their first-ever league championship.

With Orlando City ready to make the jump to the MLS in 2015, Alvarez hopes to bring what he learned during his time with Real Salt Lake back to Orlando with him.

The midfielder scored two goals in 21 games with Orlando City in 2011, and is coming off a season which saw home score 1 goal in 18 games, playing of Real Salt Lake. In all Alvarez has scored 8 goals and had 7 assists during five year professional career.

Orlando City gave up their lowest 4th round pick in the 2017 MLS Superdraft in exchange for Alvarez, but with the team building towards the MLS now, that draft pick shouldn’t be missed.

“We’re obviously delighted to have Yordany back,” said Heath in a statement. “We have an MLS-calibre player returning to us. I’m really excited to have him with us again and looking forward to the future with him on the squad.“

Alvarez will be categorized as “on loan” during the 2014, but will be a full-member of Orlando City come their inaugural MLS season in 2015.
Lions fans could get their first chance to see Alvarez back in action on Feb. 11, when Orlando City take on the Chicago Fire in a friendly at IMG Academy in Bradenton. For those that can’t make the trip out to Bradenton, the club will also be playing on Feb. 19 against the Philadelphia Union as part of the Walt Disney World Pro Soccer Classic.