Guarda, 22, played three seasons for FCD coach Schellas Hyndman at SMU, and after signing an MLS contract last week went into a weighted lottery, by which the Rapids obtained his rights. Colorado traded him to FCD in exchange for second-round and third-round selections in the 2009 MLS SuperDraft and allocation money.
In three seasons at SMU, he scored 15 goals and recorded 18 assists, earning mention as a Hermann Trophy semifinalist during the 2006 and 2007 collegiate seasons. Because he didn't sign an MLS contract prior to the 2008 SuperDraft and wasn't selected as an underclassman, MLS placed him in a weighted lottery once he announced he was leaving school. By this process the league inhibits collegiate players from bypassing the SuperDraft and entering MLS as a free agent.
He will be added to FCD's developmental roster and has expressed a desire to complete his two remaining semesters of coursework at SMU. He won't count against the salary cap, and so FCD has shed a good chunk of salary ($166,250 base) by trading Alvarez.
As reported by Soccer America several months ago, Quakes coach Frank Yallop had inquired about acquiring Alvarez but wasn't able to swing a deal while former Coach Steve Morrow was in charge. As Hyndman, who replaced Morrow last month, negotiated a deal to obtain Guarda, Yallop reached an agreement to swap San Jose's first-round pick in the 2009 SuperDraft and allocation money to get Alvarez.
Yallop brought Alvarez to the pros as a 17-year-old with the No. 13 overall pick in the 2003 SuperDraft while coaching the original version of the Quakes, which he left at the end of the season to coach Canada.
Alvarez, who signed a pro contract right out of Mayde Creek High School after attending St. Thomas High School in Houston, turned 23 last month. In 112 MLS games he has scored 13 goals and logged 12 assists.