Reggae Boy Alvas Powell has been making his mark since joining US Major League outfit the Portland Timbers on a 2013 season loan from Portmore United, a top Jamaican club.
Powell, 19, has won the confidence of Timbers coach Caleb Porter and has had a starting role in an MLS match against the Vancouver Whitecaps on August 3. The precocious defender who debuted for the senior team as a 18-year-old also came on as a second-half substitute in last week's US Open Cup semi-final match against Real Salt Lake
The former Paul Bogle High School standout, who is better known for his central defence role as a youth, has been used in a right back position by the Portland Timbers, similar to the position he played in Jamaica's last three CONCACAF World Cup qualifying games.
Porter, who was forced to use the Jamaican in the wide defensive position because of the unavailability of natural right back, conceded that while Powell has shown promise "there were some little things he needs to correct positioning-wise".
"But again, if you look at our backline, we had a 19-year-old kid and a 21-year-old kid, where two of our four are young guys, I think it bodes well for our future. So I think he's a guy who we will continue to bring along," Porter told MLSSOCCER.COM.
Porter is drawn to Powell for his outstanding "athleticism and versatility", which fits perfectly in the coach's "attacking style of play".
"He brings more of a prototypical outside back in the system that we want to play," Porter said. "Where he can go box to box, bomb on, get forward, bring width in the attack and getting back. And with his athleticism, he's a good defender," Porter was quoted on MLSSOCCER.COM.
According to the report, Powell didn't "shy away form the big stage in his MLS debut", as he had a shot and committed two fouls, including one early in a very physical match.
"I thought he did well; he's just a 19-year-old kid," Porter said. "He showed he can go into a game with a lot at stake, and I thought he did a good job."
Powell joins other Jamaican internationals, striker Ryan Johnson and goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts at the Oregon club and should have little problems settling in if given a long-term deal.
Powell has featured for the Reggae Boyz in their last three 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifiers against Mexico, United States and Honduras. He made his senior international debut last December during the 2012 Caribbean Cup and has five caps.
He was a member of Jamaica's Under-17 to the World Cup in Mexico in 2011 and has captained the Under-20 team to the quarter-finals of the 2013 CONCACAF U-20 Championship in February.