A cerebral defender who primarily plays in a central position, but can play wide if needed … wins many early balls because of his ability to read the play before it unfolds … has a keen tactical sense, but is physical when needed … excellent in the air and is comfortable getting forward as a target on set pieces or by pushing the ball up through the midfield on his own … an emotional leader on the backline … all of his three career MLS goals have come from the same set up: headers off set pieces served by Chris Tierney from the right side of the field (two off free kicks, one off a corner kick) … is conversational in Spanish and can easily communicate with the team’s Spanish-speaking players … is close friends with Seattle Sounders FC midfielder Servando Carrasco and U.S. Women’s National Team forward Alex Morgan from their time at the University of California ... is the team’s representative to The Sports Museum’s program “Boston vs. Bullies,” where he champions anti-bullying behavior to school-age children in the metropolitan Boston area … Twitter account: @AjSoares.
2012: Started 30 regular-season games: 29 at center back and one at left back. Scored two goals. Started the season opener at San Jose (March 10) at left back, marking the first-ever time he played professionally in a position other than center back. Returned to his natural center back in each of the last 29 matches he played. Scored his second career goal -- and first of the season -- on a header off Chris Tierney’s corner kick at D.C. (May 26). Started the match at Philadelphia (July 29) but was subbed off in the 71st minute with an injury. Missed the Kansas City (Aug. 4) match with a right hamstring strain – the first game he missed in 2012 – but returned to the starting lineup against Montreal (Aug. 12). Missed the match against Philadelphia (Sept. 1) with whiplash. Scored his second goal of the season – the game-winner -- on a header off Tierney’s free kick service in the 88th minute at Montreal (Oct. 27). Also made one start at center back in MLS Reserve League action: against Toronto’s reserves (Sept. 7).
2011: Voted the 2011 Revolution Best Defender by the club’s media. Made 28 appearances, all starts at central defense, before undergoing a season-ending debridement surgery on his left ankle on Oct. 6. Scored one goal. Made his MLS debut at center back in the season opener at LA Galaxy (March 20). Missed the RSL game (April 9) while serving a red card suspension from his 74th-minute red card at Vancouver (April 6). Returned to the field at Houston on April 17 and he started every game through the end of July. Started in the friendly against Manchester United (July 13) and played the first half. Issued his second career red card at Kansas City (July 30) and missed his second match of the season against Chivas USA (Aug. 6) while serving the red-card suspension. Scored his first MLS goal at Philadelphia (Sept. 7). Missed the game against Chicago (Sept. 25) with an adductor strain, the first game he missed because of injury. Underwent season-ending debridement surgery on his left ankle on Oct. 6 to help alleviate pain from an injury he suffered during preseason training.
COLLEGE: A 2010 NSCAA first-team All-American and 2010 Pac-10 Player of the Year … a two-time all-region selection and a three-time All-Pac 10 honoree … started all 77 matches in which he appeared at California … missed just two games in his four-year career … as a senior, anchored the Golden Bears’ defense that allowed just 17 goals in 20 matches … scored 10 goals in his collegiate career, including five as a senior … began his playing career as an attacking player before Cal head coach Kevin Grimes moved him to center back … helped the squad advance to three NCAA Tournaments (2007, 2008, 2010) during his four-year career, including an appearance in the national quarterfinals against eventual national champion Akron in 2010.
PERSONAL: Son of Steve and Lynn Soares … is the youngest of their six children … graduated from Cal in three-and-a-half years with a degree in sociology … hobbies include playing guitar and surfing … is a coffee and burrito aficionado … is a frequent practitioner of yoga in his spare time ... is close friends with Seattle Sounders FC midfielder Servando Carrasco and U.S. Women’s National Team forward Alex Morgan from their time at the University of California ... launched ajsoares.com and was a frequent contributor to both boston.com through a guest blog, and revolutionsoccer.net through the popular “Soares Report” video segments during his rookie season … is conversational in Spanish … his father, Steve, was a commercial tuna fisherman.