George Brown Huskies men’s soccer players Jason Alvarado and Ameer Kinani are continuing their playing career in Europe. Midfielder Alvarado inked a deal with Aguia C.D in Portugal, while striker Kinani signed with Cartegena FC in Spain.
After joining the Huskies in the summer of 2019, Alvarado made an immediate impact for the team in several areas. From day one, he controlled the midfield and was a dynamic two-way player. His stellar play earned him an East Division Second Team All-Star nod. He believes his time with the Huskies helped him grow in a few areas.
“I think by playing at George Brown, what helped me the most was my fitness and confidence. Every training session Coach John Williams (head coach) would always find a way to sneak in more fitness,” he said. “I was a central defensive midfielder, so coach Williams wanted me to touch the ball more often then what I was doing originally. At that time, it was something I wasn’t accustomed to doing that much. But looking back at the season, I couldn’t be more thankful for him teaching me that and helping me improve my game.”
The midfielder is familiar with the Portugal soccer scene because he played for C.D Santa Clara in the past. The reason why he decided to sign with Aguia C.D this time around was simple once he went back to Portugal.
“When I came back during the summer, a couple of clubs contacted me, but the club I am with now has very strong club goals and objectives they are looking to achieve that I couldn’t turn down,” Alvarado said.
Similar to Alvarado, Kinani joined the Huskies in 2019. The striker demonstrated his offensive arsenal by posting seven goals in eight matches, which ranked second on the team and seventh in the Ontario Colleges Athletic Association (OCAA). He also showed his ability to take over a match when he registered four markers in a 6-1 victory over the Centennial Colts. Kinani attributes his decision to attend George Brown as having helped his game tremendously.
“Representing the Huskies was one of the best experiences in my career. It was not just a team it was a family,” Kinani explained. “Playing at George Brown and training with coach John Williams and Richard Kirwan helped me a lot physically, mentally, [and helped me get] to the next level. Our training was always hard, and coach Williams always pushed us to do more and more work.”
The striker has developed in the Canada Soccer system throughout this life, having played on the York Jets and Vaughan High-Performance Team before joining George Brown. Additionally, Kinani was given the opportunity to play on the international stage with Iraq as a part of the under-19 team at the Asia Cup in 2018. When the opportunity came to sign a pro contract and continue his soccer career in Spain, Kinani could not turn it down.
“I signed with Cartagena FC Division III in Spain because I think this is the perfect start to play in higher divisions and leagues in Europe. It’s a big thing for a kid from Canada to get scouted and signed professional at the age of 19,” he explained.
While playing professional soccer in Spain, Kinani will continue to take online courses to complete his General Arts & Science diploma from George Brown College.
Looking back on their single year with the George Brown Huskies, Alvarado and Kinani believe that attending George Brown was the right decision from both an athletics and an academics standpoint.
“The experience with George Brown was one of the best decisions I made in my life. The team was not just about soccer, it was like a family, and they made me feel so comfortable right away even though I was one of the youngest players on the team,” Kinani said. “Also, George Brown College always gave me all the help I needed to keep on top of my academics.”
“My time representing the Huskies was great. I had the honour of wearing the jersey with pride for the full year,” Alvarado said. “I think it wouldn’t have been great if it wasn’t for the athletics staff. They do so much for all their student-athletes including myself. There are just no words that can describe how much the athletics department cares for their student-athletes.”
As Kinani and Alvarado move forward in their professional soccer careers, they will always be Huskies.
Relive all the matches Kinani, Alvarado and the other Huskies played in during the 2019 season by clicking here.