Keven Alemán can’t quite put his finger on the when, the why or the how this all came to be. It happened quickly, frankly, and the details are really of little consequence now.
What does matter is the veteran attacking midfielder is now officially a member of Valour FC. And the familiar face of GM and head coach Rob Gale –plus what he saw from the squad from afar at last year’s Island Games as a member of FC Edmonton — does have him feeling good about his new Canadian Premier League home.
“What I saw last year was a team that seemed to have a good vibe to them and the players knew each other very well,” began Aleman in a conversation with valourfootball.club from San José, Costa Rica. “It looked like a family.
“I know I’m coming to that kind of situation because I know Rob Gale. He’s a person that takes care of his players. I know that from experience from playing for him with the Under-17 team and what the kind of locker room he has. I love the fact I’m coming to something like that, where the team really battles for each other on the field.”
Valour FC announced today the signing of Alemán, 26 – a move that not only bolsters the squad’s attack, but gives Gale another proven piece and a recognizable face. He joins Valour FC after spending last year with FC Edmonton, and has been loaned to Guadalupe FC of the Costa Rican Primera División until May.
Alemán also has experience with Real Valladolid B in Spain and Herediano, Belén and Saprissa in Coasta Rica and spent 2018-19 with the USL’s Sacramento Republic before heading to Edmonton last fall.
“This was a player we’ve tried to get in the last two years,” said Gale. “I had him down as a potential foundation-level player for us in the first year while he was playing in the USL for Sacramento.
“He came up late in the preseason last year and we’d already filled our spots and so he went to Edmonton. We were just talking football to him at the Island Games and he did mention that he liked how we played.”
Born in Costa Rica, Alemán’s famiy moved to Brampton, Ontario when he was 10. He has experience with Canada’s national teams at all levels, playing for the U-17, U-20, U-23 and national men’s team, for which he has four caps – the last in a 1-0 win over El Salvador in October of 2017.
Once considered one of this country’s rising stars, Alemán is fuelled by the desire to play for the national team again, all of which was a major factor in what brought him back to the CPL last season after the two years in the USL.
“Two guys got called to the national team from the CPL in Amir (Didic) and (Marco) Bustos,” said Alemán. “They’re both great players. I wasn’t at my best at the Island Games but with me playing a full season again with Valour I don’t see why I shouldn’t get looked at by the national team.
“I’ve always been a player they have called and looked at until I came to Costa Rica and stopped getting called up. Now being on the radar again and being closer to the national team it should happen.”
He was hoping to land with another team in Spain, but Visa issues prevented him from leaving Costa Rica. That had him circling back to looking at CPL options.
“I’ve known Rob since I was on the Under-17 team,” he said. “At the Island Games it was the first time I had seen him since then and we had a chance to catch up. Then when Edmonton didn’t pick up my option I started looking around and this came about in about three days.
“At the last minute I called Rob about signing with Valour and then going on loan until May. That’s how I ended up with Guadalupe and Valour loaning me there.
“I’m excited to get there and hopefully by the summer we can be playing in front of fans.”
Alemán was among Edmonton’s best players last year at the Island Games, appearing in all seven of their matches, scoring once and leading the team in passing percentage in the final third and successful crosses.
“I spoke to (former Edmonton head coach) Jeff Paulus after the season ended about players, their club and who they thought did well and Keven really came out at the top in their estimation,” said Gale. “He’s got a great work ethic, he’s very professional in training and he’s been around the professional game since he was 15 and a TFC youth player.
“He’s a competitor, he’s gritty and he’s very technical with the ability to unlock defences with that final pass and he also has an ability to score goals, which he’s shown throughout his career.
“We’re thrilled to have him.”