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- DOB November 28, 1988
- Age 25
- Place of birth Solana Beach, California
- POSITION Defender
- HEIGHT 6'0"
- WEIGHT 170
- U.S. CAPS 0
- CLUB New England Revolution
- TWITTER @AJSoares (2.74K followers)
- Current ASN 100 Rank Unranked
- Previous ASN 100 Rank Unranked
A.J. Soares is a series of contradictions. The central defender from Solana Beach, California, is laid-back off the field, incredibly intense on it. He relies heavily on his smarts and positioning, but he’s not afraid to win balls in the air. Soares is not huge—just 6-foot—yet he loves to mix it up. “I like the physical part of the play,” he told NESoccerToday.com. “I like hitting guys…but not in a dirty way. That’s just my job on this team. I have to be physical.” All the different aspects of his game serve him well.
Soares was probably the best part of an otherwise forgettable 2011 season for the New England Revolution. After leaving the University of California—his career saw him win nearly every honor a player can—the Revs made the converted forward their first pick, sixth overall, in the MLS SuperDraft. He worked his way into the lineup almost immediately, starting 28 games before having season-ending knee surgery in October.
The Revolution continue to struggle but new coach Jay Heaps has the team fighting for one another and playing as a unit. “People foul [us] because we play really good soccer,” Soares said after a loss. “We move the ball really well. Teams can’t hang with us when we have it, so they hack us down and we just have to deal with it.”
Soares is making steady progress, picking Matt Reis's brain, solidifying his starting role and making a case as one of the best young centerbacks in the league. Though just 23, the central defender is making a strong case that he will soon be contending for a spot on the U.S. national team.—NOAH DAVIS
Noteworthy ReadsA.J. Soares Says Revolution 'Made Big Jump This Year' Under Head Coach Jay Heaps (NESN.com)
Soares Has Season-Ending Ankle Surgery (Yahoo.com)