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16-year-old joins Sounders on short-term loan

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Juan Alvarez joins the First Team as a hardship signing.

Sounders FC Digital

It’s hardly news to anyone following the team that the Seattle Sounders are dealing with significant absences at the moment. Already playing without Will Bruin, Jordy Delem, Stefan Frei, Nico Lodeiro, and Nouhou — to say nothing of Jordan Morris and his injury — the Sounders have now had to add Shane O’Neill to the injured list as well as losing Cristian Roldan to international duty.

With so many players unavailable Seattle have become eligible for what the league calls “Extreme Hardship,” meaning they can add a player on a short-term loan. Enter Juan Alvarez, a 16-year-old midfielder who signed with Tacoma Defiance from the Sounders Academy back in May of this year.

Alvarez has already made three appearances for Tacoma, all of them starts, for a total of 167 minutes this season. Prior to his signing with Defiance, Alvarez spent the 2021 preseason training with the First Team, playing and scoring the lone goal in a friendly with San Diego Loyal. Most recently he was a part of the Sounders Academy U-17 team that reached the semifinals of the MLS Next Cup where they ultimately lost to Players Development Academy. Alvarez played well throughout the tournament, including scoring an impressive goal as the side put up a highlight reel performance against Chicago Fire.

Alvarez will be available for selection tonight as the Sounders host Houston Dynamo at Lumen Field at 6 PM. His signing, even on a short-term loan, is a continuation of the youth movement going on with the team at the moment. Through 12 games that movement has earned important results, and as the absences pile up the kids will need to continue to step up if the Sounders are going to fulfill their potential.