New Birmingham Legion FC signing Gabriel Alves helped Marshall University claim the NCAA Division I College Cup in 2020 and was voted to the Sun Belt All-Conference First Team this past season. | Photo courtesy Marshall University Athletics
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Birmingham Legion FC announced on Thursday the club had signed Brazilian defender Gabriel Alves ahead of the 2023 USL Championship season. The transaction is pending league and federation approval.
The 23-year-old from Sao Paulo, Brazil was a mainstay in the Marshall University lineup starting with his freshman campaign in 2020, when he was named to the Conference USA All-Conference Freshman Team and the Herd were Conference USA champions and NCAA Division I College Cup champions. Alves captained the Thundering Herd in 2022 and was named to the Sun Belt All-Conference First Team, the United Soccer Coaches All-Southeast Region First Team, and earned an invite to the 2023 MLS Showcase.
“We’re excited to add Gabriel to our group,” said Legion FC President and GM Jay Heaps. “He’s a talented, versatile player, and we think he’ll be able to step right in and contribute along the backline and in central midfield.”
Alves started 51 of 52 games played in his collegiate career and scored two goals and added four assists while starting primarily at left back.
“It's a dream come true for my family and I that I have signed my first professional contract with Birmingham Legion FC, and I couldn't be happier,” said Alves. “It has taken considerable faith, time, effort, and sacrifice to earn this opportunity, and I am thankful to God, my family, my coaches, and my teammates.”
“From the very beginning of our conversations, I enjoyed talking to Coach Tommy and learning about his vision for the club. I'm excited to help the team as it strives to win games and bring home trophies to this amazing community. I'm excited to get to work, wear the club's colors, and support the team in achieving its goals.”