Kerwin Vargas plays soccer the way he lives his life – fearlessly but never forgetting his roots. The 20-year-old Colombian forward is Charlotte FC’s second U-22 Initiative Player, and his journey has been anything but easy.
He started his young career in the local club in his coastal hometown of Santa Marta. Eventually, working his way into the Academia Europea but was never given a chance at the first team level in Colombia.
If he wasn't going to get a first team opportunities in Colombia, Vargas would look elsewhere, specifically in Portugal. After trialing at over ten teams, things were looking grim, but the young Colombian wouldn't give up on his dream.
Finally, second division side Feirense took the gamble on him. Initially, Feirense brought in Vargas to play in their academy, but impressed so much that he went from just training with the first team to becoming the spearhead of their attack, playing a key role in Feirense's push towards promotion.
His first professional season couldn’t have started better as he became a locked starter for Feirense, scoring eight goals, and winning the player of the week award six times, a single-season record for the Liga Portugal 2. And now, Vargas joins a plethora of rising South American talent in Major League Soccer.
Dancing on the Pitch
Vargas's light-hearted and fun personality is reflected in the way that he plays. He has flair and fluidity reminiscent of Brazil's 'jogo bonito,' a playing style characterized by its skillful, fun, and entertaining nature.
Vargas uses quick small touches, body feints, and clever skills to dance past opponents. His speed, trickiness, and ability to use both feet make him unpredictable to defend against, helping him thrive in 1 v 1 scenarios.
“He’s always very threatening, always looking for the shortest way to goal whether it’s to clean up a shot for himself, or just be direct,” Charlotte FC Director of Scouting Thomas Schaling describes. “Direct in his movement off the ball, in his movement on the ball. I think that is something that will add a lot."
He’s fearless in taking players on, always looking to drive towards the goal to either set up a shot for himself or a teammate. Even off the ball, he’s a threat for defenses as he likes to stretch the pith and make runs in behind.
The Colombian is also not locked into just one position. He can play across the entire frontline of the attack, which is handy for tactical flexibility. His versatility was on full display at Feirense this season when he lined up as striker, left winger, right winger, and even right wing back for his team.
Vargas is lively throughout matches putting on a show for fans and has the end product to ultimately win matches. Charlotte FC has signed one of the top prospects coming out of Portugal who can make an immediate impact but still has plenty of room to grow and develop.