By Benjamin Peacock
There are layers to Little Rock Rangers striker Alex Guadron, but you’d never know it with his quiet disposition. The 20 year old from Chalatenango, El Salvador speaks louder with his goal scoring ability than with words.
Growing up in El Salvador, Alex started kicking a ball with his cousins and friends when he was five, joining his first competitive team–Adfa Chalatenango–when he was seven. By the time he was 13, he was playing on the U13 national team, working up over the subsequent years to the U15 squad. In that time Alex had the opportunity to compete in an international tournament in Costa Rica.
His parents had moved to America several years prior, in 2008, to establish a better place for their children. Alex would live with his older sister until he was 14 before joining his parents in Hot Springs, Arkansas in 2013. Unfortunately, while in middle school, there was not an opportunity to play except on some Sunday recreational leagues. But when the high school years rolled around, Alex began to make his mark as a quantifiable score machine.
In his freshman year, he scored 38 goals, aiding the team to a semi-final finish in the state tournament. As a sophomore, he netted 39 and again, the team made it to semi-finals. In his junior and senior years, the team won the state championship, with Alex’s 42 and 46 season goals (respectively) having no small impact in that journey. Those two winning seasons saw Alex earn MVP honors of the state final and Player of the Year by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
For Alex’s first year of college, the men’s team head coach for the University of Central Arkansas, Ross Ducan, helped recruit Alex to a junior college in Prescott, Arizona, where he played for Yavapai Soccer. In that year, with his 28 goals leading the way, they won the district tournament and traveled to Tyler, Texas for nationals where they made it to the semi-final round.
Alex returned to Arkansas in 2017 and continued taking classes online and joined a recreation league. A friend and mentor from Arkansas who worked for the New York Red Bulls encouraged him to play in the summer so that he could keep growing in the game and that’s how he came to know of the Rangers. It was a little too late to join the roster in 2017, but in 2018 Alex went to tryouts and got the callback a few days later to continue training with the team. He made the final roster after a pre-season game.
“I didn’t know if I’d made the final roster and they told me after the game they wanted to give me the opportunity to represent the city and team,” he recounted.
Next academic year, Alex is looking to go back to a college on a soccer scholarship and mentioned he has garnered some attention. He wants to study athletic training. For now, he is very excited to be back with the Rangers and watching his little brother play for Hot Springs United.
“It is fun to watch him grow in soccer,” he said of the six-year-old with a laugh. “Just last game he scored six goals. He is really big for his age and he just dribbled the ball and scored every five minutes.”
Cristiano Ronaldo, for his hard work, and Lionel Messi, for his humility as a person and player, have aspired Alex as he has grown up. But particularly meaningful to him as a striker, he tries to emulate the play style of Colombian Radamel Falcao. “When he’s one on one with the keeper, he finishes,” Alex said.
Alex’s family is especially close and he gives them full credit for influencing him to stay on track and helping him to make his dream come true to play professional soccer one day. On a typical day, he’ll start out by taking his little brother, along with his nephew and niece, to school, then come back and help out his mom around the house or running errands. In the afternoons, he will hit the gym where he enjoys focusing on cardio, and then in the evening if he is not training, he will find a field to kick around the ball with friends and family.
On game days, he likes to start the morning by watching some soccer matches on TV and listen to Spanish music. Once he gets to the stadium, he described how he becomes singularly focused on the game. Despite really not doing anything special, what he does works. He is an impactful player in the attacking third. He recalled one of his favorite moments from 2018, where he scored all four goals against Springfield Demize NPSL and was named the NPSL Player of the Week.
“In that game, I can say I helped the conference, league, and nation know that the Little Rock Rangers were here to fight for the title,” he said. Alex knows there is a lot of expectation on the Rangers after their tremendous run in 2018. “No one suspected last season that we would win the conference and go all the way to Miami 2 FC. [Opponents] are going to try to stop us from winning again.”
On the season, Alex scored 10 goals and drew the eyes of the Red Bulls as a candidate for a combine. He faced a difficult choice as the week long opportunity came during the Rangers playoff run. It was a professional-level training experience he could not pass up.
“I learned to compete at a higher level, and training with professionals is a very good experience to continue growing as a footballer and person,” Alex said of how it has helped him prepare for this coming season.
Time to peel back some more of those aforementioned layers, Alex was asked a series of rapid fire questions to elicit the first thing that came to his mind.
What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
I know how to cook some Italian food really well from working at a restaurant in Hot Springs Village.
Who are you favorite professional football teams?
Real Madrid in Spain. Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur in the English Premier League.
You mentioned you watch a lot of sports news, so what is your favorite source?
Central Fox is a show that has Europe, Champion League, MLS, and all soccer news. I also like college football and basketball. (He noted that Duke screwed up his bracket.)
What is your favorite place to eat?
What is your favorite thing to get out and do with your family and friends?
Go to the mall with friends or come to Little Rock to the zoo or walk the river.
If you had the day off tomorrow where you didn’t have to worry about training, working out, or eating right, what would you do?
I like being with family; going to church with them. We will also go to my sister’s house 2-3 days a week for dinner.
What is one super power you wish you had?
The ability to fly. I’d go over the mountains or the ocean or to the desert.
What is your spirit animal?
A snake, because they are really quiet and attack in just a second when you never expect something. (This writer has snake-o-phobia but likes the analogy to his performance on the pitch, so it’s permitted.)
What is the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten?
One time I had a Mexican food with Molé sauce. It tasted disgusting to me.
To fans, Alex has a simple message. He is excited to be with the Rangers for 2019 and promises to work hard to do even better than last season. And given the small glimpse into his history on teams, there is no reason to doubt his word. And the fan support provides the extra drive to push himself.
“I hope fans can come to support us every game–home or away, it doesn’t matter–and enjoy this summer with us,” he said. “It motivates me to score goals and celebrate with the fans.”