Inter Miami signs former U.S. national team center back Ventura Alvarado

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·4 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Inter Miami, hoping to get on a winning track in the second half of the season, bolstered its back line Thursday with the signing of former U.S. men’s national team center back Ventura Alvarado.

Alvarado is a 28-year-old Mexican-American who has spent the past 10 years playing in Mexico’s Liga MX, where he won two Clausura titles, one Apertura title and a Copa MX title. He also played on two CONCACAF Champions League-winning teams.

Alvarado signed with Miami through the end of this season, with options for 2022 and 2023.

“We’re excited to sign Ventura to Inter Miami to add depth and help us solidify our back line. He’s an experienced center back who has played at a high level in Mexico and with the national team,” said Inter Miami sporting director Chris Henderson. “We’ve seen his talent on the pitch and positive attitude and character off it firsthand and we’re looking forward to his contributions to the squad.”

Alvarado, a Phoenix native, left for Mexico when he was 12 to play with Pachuca’s youth team. He went on to play for América (2012-2016), Club Necaxa (on loan in 2013-2014 and signed 2018-2020), Santos Laguna (2017) and Club Atlético de San Luis (2020-2021).

He has been training with Inter Miami for three weeks and is getting acclimated to his new team and to the oppressive weather.

“It is much hotter and more humid here than in Mexico, so I have been getting used to that,” he told the Herald. “My first few days were hard because my legs were heavy, but now I feel much more comfortable. I did a double session on Thursday and felt good.”

He has been impressed with the level of talent on the squad.

“There are a lot of good young players here, and also older guys like [Gonzalo] Higuain, who has played at the highest level,” he said. “I was very excited to meet and to learn from him. We don’t have too many players with that kind of experience in Mexico.”

Alvarado has played against Miami midfielder Rodolfo Pizarro, a member of the Mexican national team, and said he is happy to be on the same side of the ball with him after years playing against him in Mexico.

“I used to hate playing against him because he was very annoying to defend,” Alvarado said.

Miami coach Phil Neville called Alvarado a “Figal-like” defender, referring to Nico Figal.

“Ventura brings good experience,” Neville said. “He’s massively ambitious. He’s going to provide real competition for Ryan (Shawcross), Leandro (Gonzalez Pirez), Nico, for Christian (Makoun). We felt it was an area we needed to strengthen because the amount of games coming up, we didn’t want to be left short with a lack of experience at center back.”

Neville said they considered moving up 6-6 defender Aime Mabika from the USL Fort Lauderdale team, but decided he was not quite ready.

Alvarado agrees that he shares a similar playing style to Figal.

“I am real intense, I like to talk a lot to my teammates on the field, to organize the other guys and get us all more orderly,” he said. “I am a warrior, just like Nico. We have been talking a lot and I look forward to getting on the field with these guys.”

Most recently, Alvarado played for Club Atlético de San Luis from 2020 to 2021. After joining the side in July 2020, he played 13 matches.

Alvarado was eligible to play for his native United States and Mexico due to his Mexican parents. He got the invitation from former U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann and made his debut in a friendly against Denmark on March 25, 2015. He made 13 appearances for the United States, including four 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup matches.

Inter Miami, in last place in the Eastern Conference through 13 games, is coming off a 1-1 tie against the Philadelphia Union. The team is home again Saturday night against CF Montreal and hopes to build on the improved play against the Union.

Neville said he anticipates using the same starters he used against Philadelphia, a game in which Blaise Matuidi was benched.

“We’ve got three games in the week, so the team I pick on Saturday probably won’t be the team that plays throughout the week because of the intensity of the games and the short space between games,” Neville said. “Blaise will get other opportunities, but it’s going to be very difficult to change a winning team. Blaise has had a fantastic week training. His attitude has been brilliant and he’s accepted responsibility for not being involved and bounced back in the only way I knew he would because he’s a great person. But it will be difficult to change a winning team.”

Note: The Inter Miami road game against the New York Red Bulls, which was postponed due to bad weather, was rescheduled for Oct. 9 at 6 p.m.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting