Real Salt Lake welcomed Arturo Alvarez into camp for the first time on Wednesday, and the there was one word to describe the league veteran’s performance in his RSL debut: outstanding.
At least, that’s according to Real Salt Lake general manager Garth Lagerwey, who was one of a number of onlookers to report back with positive reviews of his club’s highest-profile offseason acquisition.
“Everyone here seemed to welcome me with open arms,” said Alvarez.
RSL’s newest attacking player missed the first days of training camp while he was with the Salvadoran national team competing in the Copa Centroamericana. Alvarez and La Selecta accomplished one of their main objectives by qualifying for this summer’s Gold Cup.
[inline_node:310720]However, the former San Jose Earthquakes winger experienced some personal disappointment, missing two penalty kicks in the tournament. The final one came in the penalty stage of the third-place match against Panama, when his strike was saved en route to a 5-4 loss.
Alvarez was visibly upset after the match and admits that the miss “hurt,” but has begun the process of getting beyond it.
“It happened and I’ve moved on,” he said. “And hopefully it won’t happen again. I’m looking forward to that next game with El Salvador.”
That next game comes soon, as El Salvador will host a friendly match against Haiti on Feb. 9.
Aside from the brief time away expected for that match, Alvarez is focused on integrating with his new club squad.
“It’s just like anything – your first day on the job, or your first day on a team, you really don’t know anyone,” Alvarez said. “When you step on the field with them, you want to show them why you are here. It was a good first day of training, definitely.”
While the first impressions of Alvarez were universally positive, it wasn’t a one-way street. Alvarez has played professionally since age 17, and liked what he saw from his first introduction to Real Salt Lake’s camp.
“I thought that everything was way more organized. We weren’t waiting around to move into the next workout,” he said. “We didn’t waste any time waiting on the coaches to run a different drill. It’s ran very professional, which is a good environment to be in.
"The attitude of the team is to have a lot of fun on the field, but to work hard, and definitely that winning mentality comes out.”