• Comets’ Alvarez completes journey to citizenship

  • El Matador is an American citizen.

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  • El Matador is an American citizen.
    Missouri Comets forward Byron Alvarez, the colorful forward who won the MISL MVP Award in 2010-11, took the oath to become an American citizen Thursday morning at the federal courthouse in downtown Kansas City.
    “This is a huge day, one of the biggest days of my life,” said Alvarez, who is nicknamed “El Matador.”
    “I have dreamed of becoming an American citizen, that dream came true today. Who would have thought that a boy who grew up in Mexico and played soccer and lived in California and Oregon would have two of the biggest moments of his life happen in Missouri – getting married to Jenni in Independence and becoming an American citizen in Kansas City.”
    The naturalization ceremony took a bit of the sting out of the Comets’ season-ending 9-7 playoff loss at Milwaukee last Sunday.
    “We were so much better than we were the first year in the league and we are going to be so much better next year,” said Alvarez, who was this season’s MISL scoring champion. “I feel like I let the team down by not playing better, scoring more, and helping us get in the championship game.
    “That loss in Milwaukee will make me and my teammates work that much harder to win the championship for our fans next season.”
    And his wife, Jenni, will tell anyone that when Byron puts his mind to something, he accomplishes the task.
    “They gave Byron a CD to study for his naturalization test,” said Jenni, a member of the first class at Lee’s Summit North High School 17 years ago.
    “He listened to that CD when we were in the car, when we were in our apartment – he listened to it all the time. And he kept asking me to quiz him on the questions. This was so important. I’m so proud of him.”
    Alvarez passed the verbal test with no problems, and counted the days until he could proclaim, “I am an American citizen.”
    “To come to America and overcome the language barrier, the culture barrier, the food barrier, it is a big accomplishment,” Alvarez said. “I studied hard so I would pass the test. There are 100 questions and they ask you 10 and you don’t know which 10 they will ask.
    “But I did great.”
    When asked by a member of Jenni’s family how they would celebrate following the ceremony, Alvarez proclaimed, “We are not getting Mexican food. No, I want USA food. I want a hamburger.”
    COMETS HONORED: MISL scoring champion Geison was named All-MISL first team Thursday. Danny Waltman was on the All-MISL second team and is a finalist for Goalkeeper of the Year.
    Page 2 of 2 - Joining Waltman on the All-MISL second team is defender Leo Gibson and Alvarez. Gibson is also a finalist for MISL Defender of the Year.
    Coach Kim Roentved was one of three finalists for MISL Coach of the Year after leading the Comets to a 15-9 regular season and appearance in the Central Division finals.

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