Cavalry FC adds scoring punch with Peruvian forward Jair Córdova

Cavalry FC bolstered its attack on Wednesday with the signing of Peruvian forward Jair Córdova to a multi-year contract in a move that sees another promising South American prospect land in the Canadian Premier League.

Córdova, 23, comes to Calgary with a solid reputation under his belt. A native of Lima, Córdova finished as the top scorer in Peru’s second division with Alianza Atlético, scoring 23 goals in 28 games in 2018.

A left-footed forward, Córdova then featured with Club Juan Aurich S.A., where he scored 10 goals in 18 matches during the 2019 season, leading to a move last month to CSD Alianza in the country’s first division. Cavalry activated his release clause with CSD Alianza to bring him to Canada.

Córdova joins a Cavalry team that led the CPL in scoring last year with 51 goals, so his arrival appears to further strengthen what was already the league’s best offence.

“It means a lot because it is an ambitious club that always plays to win in every game. I want to win things with this team,” Córdova said in a media release.

Córdova signed with the Calgary-based club after being identified by the CPL’s new centralized scouting system of young internationals (age 23 and under), which is run by the league’s soccer operations department and the 21st Club, a world class data and analytics group with offices in London, San Francisco and Singapore.

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Cavalry coach Tommy Wheeldon Jr. explained that “Córdova is a talent that we could not pass up on.”

“His proven goal scoring record speaks for itself and at 23 years old he still has a lot more to develop. We like the way he plays the game with his clever touches, movement and attacking instincts and feel he will be a great addition to our 2020 squad. I’m positive he will be a great teammate and excite our fans,” Wheeldon Jr. stated.

Canadian journalist Peter Galindo, a noted observer of South American soccer, opined that Córdova’s most noticeable traits are “his composure in the box and his clinical finishing,” and that the young Peruvian is “also super effective from the penalty spot.”

“Córdova won’t offer a lot in terms of build-up play, but he always shows for the ball and executes intelligently timed runs towards goal to get himself in position to score. Considering how quickly and incisively Cavalry play, Córdova should slot in nicely for Tommy Wheeldon Jr.’s side,” Galindo offered.

Córdova is expected to arrive in Calgary in March 2020 to begin training pending the approval of the appropriate visas and work permits.

Wheeldon Jr. has re-signed several important players from last season, including goalkeeper Marco Carducci, defenders Dominick Zator and Mason Trafford, and midfielders Nik Ledgerwood, Sergio Camargo and Oliver Minatel.

Three key members from the 2019 side have yet to sign, though: Canadian Nico Pasquotti, and internationals Jose Escalante and Dominique Malonga.

Malonga scored a team-high 11 goals last year, and finished in a tie for second in the Golden Boot race. The Congolese forward was also a finalist for the CPL’s Player of the Year award.

It’ll be interesting to see how things play out in Calgary over the ensuing weeks, whether the Cavs bring back Malonga for the 2020 campaign, or if they view him as expendable due Córdova’s arrival.

Córdova is the second South American youngster to sign with a CPL club is as many days. On Monday, York9 FC announced Tuesday that it inked 23-year-old Brazilian forward Gabriel Vasconcelos, securing the product of Sao Paulo-based club Corinthians to a deal ahead of the 2020 campaign.