[THIRTEEN FOR '13] It's usually the No. 1 pick who gets all the pre-draft attention, but Chivas USA coach Jose Luis Sanchez is new to American sports and its draft system. El Chelis' pronouncement that Chivas USA will take Carlos Alvarez with the No. 2 pick in Thursday's MLS SuperDraft in Indianapolis made the UConn playmaker the focus of attention. The son of a former Chivas de Guadalajara player, Alvarez is Chiva through and through. So just how did a kid from East Los Angeles end up in Storrs, Conn.?
13. Carlos Alvarez (Univ. of Connecticut)
12. Kekuta Manneh (Austin Aztex-signed to Generation adidas contract)
11. Eriq Zavaleta (Indiana-signed to Generation adidas contract)
10. Jason Johnson (VCU-signed to Generation adidas contract)
9. Gyasi Zardes (CSU Bakersfield-signed with Los Angeles Galaxy)
8. Walker Zimmerman (Furman-signed to Generation adidas contract)
7. Gale Agbossoumonde (Carolina RailHawks-signed with Toronto FC)
6. Oscar Sorto (Los Angeles Galaxy U-17/18s-signed with Los Angeles Galaxy)
5. Mikey Lopez (North Carolina-signed to Generation adidas contract)
4. Amando Moreno (New York Red Bulls U-17/18s-signed with New York Red Bulls)
3. Andrew Farrell (Louisville-signed to Generation adidas contract)
2. Ashton Bennett (Coastal Carolina)
1. Wil Trapp (Akron-signed with Columbus Crew)
Alvarez is part of the first class of seniors who went through the Development Academy. It brought national exposure for players like Alvarez, who grew up playing for Pateadores and then LAFC. But it was in the weekend leagues of Los Angeles, where Hispanic soccer flourishes, that Alvarez's connection to UConn was formed.
Alvarez developed a friendship withCruz Hernandez and Oscar Castillo, two older players he met playing on the weekend. Both were California community college stars at Mt. San Antonio College and went on to play two seasons with the Huskies.
"I said one day I want to be like them," he told the Hartford Courant. "They're becoming something in life."
By his own admission, Alvarez comes from a bad neighborhood
"There are six gangs around my house," he told the Courant. "It's really bad. At the end of the day, if you don't have love, you end up there. My parents, my family, coaches, teachers, they gave me love and always helped me. They never let me to go to the bad things. They kept me focused and working hard."
Alvarez got his love of soccer from his father, who took him to see the USA play Colombia at the Rose Bowl in the 1994 World Cup when he was just 4.
Alvarez, who attended both U.S. and Mexico national youth team camps when he was in high school, says he was thrilled when he met El Chelis on Monday at the combine and the new Chivas USA head coach told him he would be taking him with the No. 2 pick in the draft.
Alvarez, who was the 2012 Big East Midfielder of the Year with 42 assists in four seasons (third all-time) with the Huskies, wanted it to be a surprise for his family that he'd be coming home to play, but that didn't last long.
El Chelis spilled the beans.