HARRISON, NJ - MARCH 13: A general view of the MLS, Fussball Herren, USA march ball on the field during the first half of the Major League Soccer game between the New York Red Bulls and Minnesota United on March 13, 2022 at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey. Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire SOCCER: MAR 13 MLS - Minnesota United at New York Red Bulls Icon220332609

As is true in nearly every case, the ethnicity of a country’s national team player pool often reflects the immigrant movements and history of its people. In the United States this is, finally and justly, becoming more and more evident in the youth player pool. Jonathan Gonzalez, Alex Mendez, Sebastian Soto, and Ulysses Llanez among others are all part of the proud contingent of Mexican-Americans that have either already chosen or will be required to choose a side in the impassioned rivalry that is Mexico vs the United States.

While Gonzalez chose the nation of his parents and has been capped twice so far for Mexico, the latter three have all – for the time being – developed their talents within the US youth system. There is one such player whose eventual decision could be more instrumental than any other: Efrain Alvarez.

Who is Efrain Alvarez?

Efrain “Efra” Alvarez was born, like many footballers in the same situation, in southern California. Growing up in a dangerous neighbourhood in Los Angeles with five siblings, Efrain’s father turned the children’s concentrations on football. Once coaches and scouts began to see something exceptional in Efrain, he signed with the Los Angeles Galaxy’s USL affiliate, LA Galaxy II, shortly after turning 15.

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