PORTO FELIZ, Brazil — Jamaica's Under-17 and Under-20 central defender Alvas Powell is on brief trial stint with the Traffic Football Academy here.
The 16-year-old trained with the Academy's Under-17 squad yesterday and according to physical trainer and assistant coach, Rodrigo Dias, the young Jamaica defender made a very good first impression.
Dias said interest in Powell came about after he and Traffic's Under-17 head coach Fabio were talking with Luciano Gama, the Jamaican Under-17 physical trainer, and because the Under-17 squad only has 16 players presently, they are trying to add some more players to the outfit.
"Luciano told us about Alvas Powell so we had our first practice with him today (Wednesday) and we got to see him close up and the first impression was good, very impressive, actually," he said.
And though the big defender was here with the Jamaican Under-17 which qualified for their age-group World Championship in January, Dias noted that neither he nor head coach Fabio has seen Powell before as they were not with the Academy at that time.
He pointed out that the staff is basically a new one, with Fabio joining the Academy in February and him only three weeks now. However, because the academy has changed its philosophy from buying and reselling players to grooming young talent for the international market, the staff was rearranged to meet that objective.
"We've not seen him before, but Luciano spoke good things about him and he's just 16 and he's on the Under-20 national team... He's seem to be a prodigy, so we're taking a look at him," he added.
Dias, a former Miami FC's coaching panel member, explained that there are three components in soccer: the physical aspect — and Alvas has a good physical; the technical quality — and the youngster showed he is pretty good technically; while in terms of tactical awareness (which is positioning, movement and game intelligence), Powell would be examined in that regard later on this evening
"He's has a very good physical and he has good height; he is good in the air, as we did some technical specifics for the defenders with some headers and passes on the ground and technically, he seems pretty good, so this afternoon we're going to incorporate him a little into the tactical component and see how he looks there, but the first impression was very, very good," he reiterated.
He added that if they were to make a move for the player, Coach Fabio would have to give the approval first and then it would be passed on to the Academy's co-ordinator, who would make contact with the individuals responsible for Powell.
"But first we need to make a decision... so let just see if it's going to come about," he added.
Meanwhile Powell, who heard the news the evening before after training with the Jamaican outfit, was elated. He said after training with the Traffic squad yesterday morning, he was a bit nervous and although he could not understand what they were saying, he eventually caught on when they gave him instructions.
"...I feel real happy because I have come a far way and didn't expect anything like this and although it's my first session with them, I know that I could make it here; I just have to put out the hard work," he said.
"... If they really select me it would mean a lot, but I'm not getting carried away because nothing has happened as yet, but if it happens it would really mean a lot to me training and building my skill in Brazil," he added.
Jamaica Under-20 physical trainer Luciano Gama said that although he was the one who recommended Powell, it was left up to the Academy to have a look at him because they showed the interest.
He noted that the squad will leave Brazil tomorrow for the CONCACAF final-round World Cup Qualifiers in Guatemala and if Traffic Academy admires and wants the player to continue with them, they would have to go through the general secretary of the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF), Horace Reid.