Valour FC announced on Wednesday that it has acquired Canadian winger Jared Ulloa on loan from Peruvian outfit Club Sporting Cristal.
Ulloa, 18, joins Valour after signing his first professional contract with Sporting Cristal, who play in Peru’s topflight.
The teenaged winger was born in Piura, Peru, but he is a Canadian national (his father is from Canada), which means he is eligible to play for Canada’s senior team, and the under-23 side that is attempting to qualify for this summer’s Tokyo Olympics.
It also means he will count as a domestic on Valour’s roster, and so he can help the Winnipeg-based club meet its under-21 domestic requirement, which was recently increased to 1,500 minutes for the 2021 season.
“He is a really interesting prospect because he’s been at the top club in Peru. He’s only 18, but he’s in and around the first squad there,” Valour coach Rob Gale told CanPL.ca.
“He’s a pacy, dynamic winger and he’s Canadian even though he’s spent all of his career in Peru.”
RELATED READING: CPL off-season roster tracker – Who’s in and who’s out for 2021?
According to Canadian soccer journalist Peter Galindo, an expert on South American club soccer, Ulloa had a decent scoring record with Cristal’s under-18 team while playing on both flanks.
“Considering his age, I think Ulloa has a notable advantage over many Peruvian youngsters: he has the physical traits to adjust to regular first-team football. He’s agile and that translates to his dribbling qualities but he lacks acceleration to consistently beat defenders with his speed alone,” Galindo told CanPL.ca.
“His two main weaknesses are his proneness to heavy touches on the dribble in duels with opposing defenders and he becomes individualistic at times in those situations – he’ll look to beat his man instead of making the pass, for example – but both can be fixed, especially as an 18-year-old.
Given the low-risk, high-reward nature of the signing, Galindo believes this could be a coup for Valour.
“If Rob Gale decides to gift the youngster some creative freedom in the final third, that’ll enable Ulloa to drive into the box, cut inside onto his left foot and shoot, which could alleviate some of the attacking burden on (Valour forward) Austin Ricci’s shoulders,” Galindo offered.
Ulloa is the 12th player signed by Valour ahead of the 2021 CPL season, and the second newcomer to the team this off-season, as he joins Venezuelan attacker Ronny Maza.