The defensive backs in soccer are like the offensive linemen in football. They’re the guys that do all the dirty work but don’t get much love, to use the words of Ada soccer coach Cole Jones. So welcome to the world of Ada soccer player Eli Alvarez, a four-starter on the back line for the Cougars. “He’s a great kid who always comes with a good attitude and a drive to compete in every practice and every game,” said Jones.
Eli got an early start playing soccer by first watching it on TV and then getting involved through a local boys and girls club when he was eight and he still plays with a lot of the guys that started out with him in those youth leagues. He draws inspiration from Mexican professional player Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez of the LA Galaxy. “I like his speed and agility and his footwork his phenomenal. I think that’s what sets him apart from a lot of other players,” said Alvarez who will play college soccer at Oklahoma Wesleyan next year.
Eli’s leadership ability has been a factor in the success of the Cougars who are 10-3 at this point because they are a relatively young team. “We do have several seniors that share in the leadership but Eli is one of the main ones,” said Jones. “He’s got a freshman that plays next to him on defense that he has really taken under his wing and helped him along.”
One of the highlights of the season this year for Alvarez has been a turnaround win against an arch rival. “We won our first three games and then went to Ardmore where they really handed it to us 5-1 right before spring break. We came back and studied film of that game and looked at our mistakes. A couple of weeks later we ended up facing them again in the finals of the Rose Rock tournament and beat them in overtime. It was a great feeling. Everyone was excited. I’m not sure but maybe coach even teared up a little with that win,” laughed Eli.
So how would he like to be remembered when he leaves Ada this spring? “I’d like to be remembered as a friendly guy who liked to talk to everyone and have his voice heard.”
He’s not sure what he’ll study in college but he has had an interest in drawing since he was young and is in an art club so that may be an avenue for him.