Jordy Alcívar was born and raised in the coastal city of Manta, Ecuador in the small neighborhood of Abdón Calderón. His mother grew up a soccer fan and when Alcívar was born she wasted no time in taking him to the local soccer pitches.
It was at this early age where Alcívar’s love of the game began. Today, he has grown to become one of the hottest prospects coming out of Ecuador.
He has represented his national team at the youth levels, but a senior national team call up could be on the cards for the 22-year-old Ecuadorian against Mexico at Bank of America Stadium next week.
Here are three things to know about Alcívar's style of play that make him currently one of the top young Ecuadorian players.
Alcívar is what is known as a controlling midfielder, a term coined for players who provide balance in the midfield to help dictate tempo. Without such a midfielder, the attacking, possession-based style that head coach Miguel Ramírez prefers can become disjointed and struggle to, as the name suggests, control games.
Controlling midfielders need to be intelligent in their play and have a good tactical understanding of the game in order to be just as effective without the ball as they are with it.
They must also have good composure and quick decision-making in order to properly deal with the pressing styles of modern defenses.
“He’s smart like that. He’s good under pressure, he really knows how to absorb pressure from an opponent and then make quick decisions,” said Director of Scouting Thomas Schaling of Alcívar’s intelligence.
This ability is difficult to coach and especially rare in younger players but, despite Alcívar's young age, he has shown he is beyond his years in this aspect. While much of this comes naturally, Alcívar has refined it over time with experience, already totaling 74 appearances across the Ecuadorian first division, Copa Libertadores, and Copa Sudamericana.
“He comes from a well-respected league in South America and is very experienced for a player of his age,” said Charlotte FC Sporting Director, Zoran Krneta. “In Jordy, we add another player to our roster who has experience in big moments for club and country.”
Some central midfielders look to control and progress the ball with their dribbling ability, but Alcívar looks to do it with his passing. Often, it is not with flashy passing but calculated, purposeful passes with the intention of helping break defenses down.
“He gives those passes through the lines to feed the players ahead of him, who can then give that next crucial pass,” said Schaling. “He is often at the base of a good passing sequence, gives the pre-assist pass that breaks the line of defense in front of him, so that the next person to receive it can play that final ball.”
Having a midfielder that can feed the attackers helps the team remain positive in play. While the main attacking responsibilities don’t fall on Alcívar, he is instrumental in the build-up leading to the attack.
There are also defensive responsibilities that come with the midfield position. Alcívar doesn’t shy away from them and helps provide defensive stability to his team with his intelligence and discipline.
“He’s very, very disciplined defensively. Whenever he needs to scan his environment and make runs off the ball to recover and track back, he is so determined and focused,” Schaling said.
Alcívar constantly scans around him to find any opposing players who aren’t marked and picks them up. He tracks and follows runners who try to slip through the defensive lines.
He stands his ground and is strong in his tackles. He’s fearless in the 50/50 balls and doesn’t shy away from the dirty but all-important defensive work. At the end of the day, he’s a team player willing to do whatever it takes to help the team.
Ultimately, Alcívar suits Charlotte FC’s head coach Miguel Ramírez’s high pressing, possession-based style of play and brings a well-rounded game that will be important to keeping the balance within the midfield.
For Charlotte FC fans, Mexico versus Ecuador on October 27th at Bank of America Stadium could be a chance to catch a first glimpse of the Club’s exciting new midfielder.