Geo Alves on inspiring fellow Cape Verdeans through soccer, debut pro season in New York

Published Sep 24, 2020

The Cosmos return to professional soccer this summer has come with a renewed investment in youth development and bringing in a core of young, diverse, and exciting talent for their first opportunity in the professional game. None of the Cosmos summer signings exemplifies this more than Geovanny Alves – the young Cape Verdean striker, and the first player in the club’s history to hail from the island nation.

“I feel blessed,” said Alves of signing his first professional contract in July. “It's hard with all the stuff going on, and to get this opportunity – I’m trying to make the most out of it. To get your first contract with a historical club like this, it means a lot not only for me, but my community and for my family. I really feel blessed."

Alves, 25, is one of the only Cape Verdean professional soccer players in the United States – the most notable being Philadelphia Union midfielder, Jamiro Monteiro. For Alves, who hopes to represent his country on the international level one day, news of his contract with the Cosmos made waves back home.

“To be a professional soccer from Cape Verde is a very difficult thing to do,” said Alves. "There’s a lot of talent, but we don’t have a person or a network that’s able to get us out. Most players go to Portugal, because we have scouts there. To do it in the States is huge - not only for me and my family, but on social media you can see how Cape Verdeans react. I was surprised at first, because I didn’t know how far the news traveled. You can see people send messages from every corner of every one of the islands.”

Alves doesn’t want only to represent his country internationally. He understands the power of the sport he loves in his home country – and wants to use that power to help others down the path he finds himself on in New York.

“Soccer in Cape Verde is the only way out,” said Alves. “We don’t have McDonald's or Wendy's that we can go work at and make the extra money. It’s just - go to school and play sports. For me to go professional here – it’ll open a lot of doors. I want to help more kids get here, and I’m on the right path to do it. I studied Sports Management in college and want to help kids not only play professionally here – but give them an education and using our God-given talents to give us  something in life."

In his debut professional season, Alves has been often used as a late game, high energy substitute for head coach Carlos Mendes this summer – but that changed on September 12. Mendes gave Alves his first professional start, and the University of Vermont alumnus made the most of it with his first professional goal in the 37th minute. Despite the result, Alves gained a lot that night.

“That goal is really important because it's going to give me confidence,” said Alves. “It’s even better when you start - that means that through the process, coaches keeping trusting and believing in you and that's what matters right now. If I come in late in the game, it's still important – but starting gives you a lot of confidence. It means a lot and you feel that pressure. But, as soon you step on the field, all the nerves go away.”

The Cosmos are now looking to jumpstart their playoff hopes in a rematch of Alves’ first professional start tomorrow evening against Chattanooga FC. For Alves, who started the club’s tournament opener against Cal United, success can be found for the Cosmos in the small details of each performances.

“We haven’t had a complete performance yet,” said Alves. “We have the quality, and we have what it takes to bring the trophy home to New York. How we get there is focus. The small details matter in the playoffs – they make all the difference. When we’re the team that everyone else is looking towards – they’re not going to give us anything easily. We have to focus on the process and what the coaching staff are asking of us.”