GOAL on Tuesday released its annual list of the top 50 wonderkids across the global football landscape, and MLS fans will be excited to learn that one of the league’s players made the cut.Efrain Alvarez, the 17-year-old midfielder for the LA Galaxy, came in at No. 43 on the list, which may not seem all that high. But consider that the 18-year-old Takefusa Kubo, No. 9 on this year’s list, barely cracked last year’s entry at No. 49. So it’s possible Alvarez will shoot up the list next season, if he continues to improve. MORE: Gio Reyna says facing Liverpool in first Dortmund start ‘a really good opportunity’Rarely does Zlatan Ibrahimovic offer praise for anyone other than himself, so when he called Alvarez “by far the biggest talent” in the MLS, it certainly raised a lot of eyebrows. In 14 matches with the senior team this season, Alvarez dealt three assists, showing off his creativity and skill. He also stole the show in his Galaxy debut, assisting on the equalizer and setting up the winning goal against the Chicago Fire.16-year-old Efrain Alvarez stole the show in his MLS debut on Saturday night for the LA Galaxy 🔥 pic.twitter.com/f7YPnIApkP— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) March 5, 2019Here’s a look at some of his highlights from 2018 at the youth level:Efrain Alvarez is 15, and he’s a total baller 🔥(🎥 via @USL) pic.twitter.com/tWlEqcIWpt— B/R Football (@brfootball) May 24, 2018Alvarez’s talent has led to a battle for his national team services between the United States and Mexico. Alvarez is an LA native and was captain of the U.S. U-15 team in 2016, but also played for Mexico at the youth level, scoring four goals and dealing two assists in the 2019 FIFA U-17 World Cup while leading El-Tri to a runner-up finish. In the process, he delivered this golazo that will have Americans hoping he switches back to play at the senior level.México is in the U-17 World Cup Final! 🇲🇽Efrain Alvarez’s free kick equalizer vs the Netherlands helped #ElTri reach the shootout, where they prevailed to set up a date with Brazil.Watch Sunday’s #U17WC Final at 5pm ET, live on FS2 and the FOX Sports App. pic.twitter.com/hIT7Ao2O0y— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) November 15, 2019Will Efrain Alvarez play for the U.S. or Mexico?Mike Muñoz, Alvarez’s club coach at the time he decided to switch from the U.S. to Mexico, tried to explain his reasoning via Soccer America. “With U.S. Soccer, Efra was dropped from the camp for whatever reason. I don’t know if there was a collective decision from U.S. Soccer,” Muñoz said. “Unfortunately when he was dropped, Mexico came knocking at the door and he has been there ever since.”There were rumblings that Alvarez might make an appearance for Mexico in the Gold Cup this past summer, which would have cap-tied him to Mexico. But it never came to fruition, which means his options are still open.According to CBS, a source close to Alvarez said, “Mexico is on top of him,” but added that there is still time for the U.S. to poach him. But there appears to be more commitment from Alvarez and his family with Mexico.
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