Alvas Powell and his growing collection of boots are here to stay

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A craftsman isn’t defined by their tools but said tools can be an interesting look into the life and behavior of that craftsman. A soccer player’s shoes (or boots) are their tools, and no one has more tools than Alvas Powell in the FC Cincinnati locker room. 

Powell works through a rotation of as many as 10 pairs of soccer boots for training and seven or eight different boots for games. Unlike some players, Powell needs to work in the shoes over the course of seven or eight practice sessions before graduating the new pair to the game rotation or relegating them to the practice group forever. 

Powell and his boots will be in Cincinnati for the long haul now after signing a contract extension in early August with FC Cincinnati. Powell will be with The Orange and Blue through the 2025 MLS season, with an option for the 2026 season.

“I was happy. I was happy that they still believed in me,” Powell said after discovering that the club would be offering him a contract extension. “They chose me. I’m excited to be here and continue to play for this club.

“This club, these fans mean a lot to me and my family and friends. So I am just so happy.”

“Alvas is an incredibly valuable part of our group,” said Chris Albright, FC Cincinnati General Manager, in a statement announcing Powell’s extension. “His experience, athleticism, and the ability to play multiple positions have been key to our success over the last two years. Most importantly, Alvas is a tremendous person and teammate, and we’re delighted to keep him in Cincinnati.”

The Jamaican national team member has made over 200 MLS appearances in his 11-year career and has made 72 appearances with FC Cincinnati, including 48 starts over two stints with the club.

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After Powell’s first opportunity with the club ended in 2019, the defender was hesitant to return to FCC, but has been overwhelmed and overjoyed with his decision to come back to the club. He cited his relationship with head coach Pat Noonan and the coaching staff as key to his resurgence with the club. 

“It’s changed. The culture of the club, the first time I was here everything was different,” Powell said. “We have a bunch of guys that love to work every day and know what it takes, but also can have fun.” 

Powell is known in the locker room for his aforementioned collection of boots and the routineness with which he changes them out.

The average FCC player who answered this writer’s poll utilizes perhaps two or three boots at any given time, with slight variations for different weather or surfaces the team is playing on. Some, like goalkeeper Alec Kann, will stick to the same model boot for the eternity of his career, using the same model of adidas boots since 2015, despite the model being discontinued recently. Others, like Brandon Vazquez, have a healthy rotation, but will only use nine or 10 total in a season. 

Keeper gloves are a whole other story for another day. 

Style is not a determining factor in Powell’s selection of shoes; owning different models and using variations that he finds essential arbitrarily. But the style aspect that does matter, to the point that it’s almost essential, is the color of the shoes. 

“The game shoes are more simple,” Powell said with definitiveness. “If it’s too flashy it will only be for practice. But games are always simple for me. If it’s green, pink, white, I usually leave those for practice.”

After a pair of boots has been entered into the rotation and worked in, they are interchangeable. “I can just close my eyes and pick one out and say ‘okay, these are for today,’” Powell says. But to get to that stage process, it takes a rigorous evaluation process. One that can leave a pair on the outs just minutes into lacing them up. 

“Sometimes you just know,” Powell admitted with a laugh. “I just keep changing shoes until I’m comfortable.” 

Powell, and his collection of tools are now in it for the long haul in Cincinnati. And while he likely won’t ever wear the colors on his feet in a game (too flashy, of course), Powell is as comfortable as he’s ever been in Orange and Blue.

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