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Famous Ecuadorian Footballers Ecuadorian National Football Team. Ecuadorian Soccer Team

Football (fútbol) is one of the most popular recreational sports in Ecuador. As a football-loving nation, Ecuador has produced some of the soccer greats that have been known the world over for their skills and individual contribution to the sport. Some of these names have become synonymous with soccer itself.

Ecuador National Football Team

Ecuador is a South American nation that has a love for various types of sports. And just like their neighbors, they are very interested in fútbol and have produced several soccer players that are known worldwide. The Federación Ecuatoriana de Fútbol governs the sport and their home stadium is the Estadio Olimpico Atahualpa located in Quito. The Ecuador national football team, nicknamed La Tri or Tri-color has qualified for the 2002 and 2006 FIFA World Cup tournaments. They reached their highest place in the 2006 FIFA World Cup when they reached the Round of 16. Among the great football nations of South America, Ecuador might seem small compared to them. However, the national team does not lack quality and have produced football players that are renowned the world over.

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Ecuadorian Football Greats

Álex Dario Aguinaga Garzón

Álex Aguinaga, born on July 9, 1968 has one of the highest appearances for Ecuador and is known as one of the best football players Ecuador has produced.

He spent most of his soccer career at Necaxa, playing in the team for more than thirteen years and led the club to win three championships. Despite offers from many top European clubs, he remained with Necaxa stating that he would only leave the club if the club no longer wanted him. He transferred to Cruz Azul in 2003 and retired with LDU Quito in 2005.

He started playing for Ecuador on March 1987 and over the years was an integral member of the national football squad. He even became the team captain for some time. Through his efforts, Ecuador became qualified for the FIFA World Cup for the first time in 2002. By the time he retired, he had earned 109 caps and had scored 39 goals for his country. He also had one of the most appearances in the Copa America with 7.

José Francisco Cevallos Villavicencio

José Cevallos is nicknamed “Las Manos del Ecuador” (The Hands of Ecuador) and is considered to be one of the best goalkeepers in Ecuador football history. He is currently the Minister of Sports for Ecuador and has a foundation that helps young children especially in playing football.

Born on April 17, 1971, Cevallos spent most of his career with Barcelona, a club based in Guayaquil. He made a total of more than 400 match appearances and was instrumental to the club’s win of three national titles. He was also a significant contributor for pushing the club to reach the Copa Libertadores for the second time and becoming the runner-up to 1998 champions Vasco de Gama, a Brazilian club. He was in four Copa America tournaments and the 2002 and 2010 World Cup. He represented Ecuador for a total of 89 times making him the most capped goalkeeper in the history of Ecuadorian football.

Ariel José Graziani Lentini

Ariel Graziani is a naturalized Ecuadorian football player born on June 7, 1971 in Argentina. Many consider him to be one of the finest strikers in Ecuador football history and he has been one of the top scorers in nearly every team he has been part of.

He started playing professionally with Argentine club Newell’s Old Boys for a year and transferred to Peruvian club Sport Boys where he became a team mate of Diego Maradona. His striking skills became apparent when he transferred to Ecuador to play for Emelec where he stayed for two seasons, and was the top goal scorer for the club. This led the club to win the Serie A de Ecuador in 1996. His excellent performance was a standout and he transferred to Mexican First Division Morelia where he continued to demonstrate his superior striking.

Before being traded to Dallas Burn in 2000, the Major League Soccer acquired him for about $2 million—the highest amount paid by the league then—and was allocated to New England Revolution. He was the top goalscorer in 2000 and 2001 for the club with 15 and 11 goals respectively. He signed with Ecuadorian club LDU Quito in 2005 and was a vital part in the team’s victory in the 2005 Serie A de Ecuador before officially retiring from professional football in 2006.

Graziani made appearances for the Ecuadorian national team a total of 33 times and scored 15 goals. His striking was especially vital during the national team’s victory in the 1999 Canada Cup where he scored three goals out of three matches.

Alberto Pedro Spencer Herrera

Alberto Spencer, born on December 6, 1937 in Ancón, Guayas, Ecuador was widely regarded as the best football player Ecuador has produced. He still holds the highest number of goals in the history of the Copa Libertadores with 54 goals. IFFHS ranked him as the 20th best South American Footballer of the 20th Century. Also RSSSF—Ecuador considers him the Player of the Century.

Spencer possessed deadly striking on both feet, combined with his quick pace and excellent balance. He was a lethal force on the pitch. He was nicknamed the “Cabeza Magica” (Magic Head) for his incredible ability for heading the ball. Pele himself considered Spencer better at heading than himself saying, “He was spectacular heading the ball . . . he would do it with a burst, but without actually sprinting.”

Spencer began playing for Everest at 15 years old. He shot to fame when he was scouted by Peñarol manager Hugo Bagnulo in July 1959. After he transferred to Peñarol, he was instrumental in winning three Copa Libertadores titles, two Intercontinental Cup titles, and numerous Uruguay league titles. He was sought by Inter Milan twice but Peñarol refused to sell him.

He still holds the distinction of being the only footballer to score goals and be capped by two different countries at the same time: Ecuador and Uruguay. He was a four time top scorer in the Uruguay League. He scored a total of 450 goals in his professional career. He retired professionally in 1973 and was appointed as Ecuador’s consul in 1982. Upon his death in 2006, the Federación Ecuatoriana de Fútbol named the Estadio Modelo to Estadio Modelo Alberto Spencer Herrera in his honor.

Jaime Iván Kaviedes Llorenty

Iván Kaviedes, born on October 24, 1977 is a powerful striker well known for his deft touch, wide range of vision and passing, and focus in netting goals. He is most remembered for his bicycle kick although his back was turned, a trick he displayed while playing for Real Villadolid against FC Barcelona. This spectacular striking was eventually voted as the goal of the year.

After scoring 43 goals for Ecuadorian League club Emelec in one season, Kaviedes rose to fame and caught the attention of Italian Serie A Club Perugia. He moved there but was unable to replicate his prior success with Emelec. Since then, he had joined various clubs in Mexico, Europe, and South America. He is currently playing for Club Deportivo El Nacional in Ecuador.

He played for the Ecuadorian national soccer team in the 1999 Copa America and the 2002 and 2006 FIFA World Cup tournaments.

Ulises Hernán de la Cruz Bernardo

Ulises de la Cruz, born on February 8, 1974 in Piquiucho, Carchi, Ecuador started playing in the youth squad of the Sociedad Deportivo Quito at age sixteen. He was accepted into the senior squad eventually and made his breakthrough in 1998 when he scored three goals against Emelec in the finals.

He was signed by Alex McLeish, manager of Hibernian of the Scottish Premier league after watching De la Cruz play in Ecuador’s international matches. He was signed in 2001for £700,000. He played for Hibernian for only one season before signing up with Aston Villa. He played for Aston Villa for three seasons but was discontented by the lack of opportunities to play as a starter. In August 2006, he signed with Reading and transferred for free.

Before going back to Ecuador to play for LDU Quito, he played for Birmingham City. His stint with LDU Quito saw the club winning the 2009 Copa Americana and the 2009 Copa Sudamericana.De la Cruz is an important player of the Ecuador National squad. He made a total of 90 appearances for the national team and 5 goals so far.He is also known for his charitable work. His charity, Friends of FundeCruz, funds projects for the local community where he grew up. He donates about 10% of his salary to the institution and has so far funded the building of a health center, a sports ground, and a water treatment facility. He has also been named as a UNICEF ambassador.

Agustín Javier Delgado Chalá

Agustín Delgado, also known as “Tín”, with his 31 goals out of 71 matches, is the top scorer for the Ecuadorian national team. His career spans three continents by playing for Mexico, England, and home country Ecuador. He was born in Ambuquí, Imbabura, Ecuador on December 23, 1974.

Delgado’s football career is rife with scandal and injuries. When he played for Southampton FC, he was plagued by injuries, which reduced his appearances to only a few matches. Despite efforts to bring him back to form, he remained injured because of his stint with the Ecuador national football team where he played in the qualifying matches for the World Cup despite his existing injuries. It was found out, after thorough medical examination that the injuries were chronic. He also refused to learn the English language leading to his disaffection with manager Gordon Strachan. When he returned to Ecuador to play for several clubs, especially Barcelona de Guayaquil, he was accused of not taking the club seriously. There were even reports that he spent most nights partying with his other teammates leading to his and said teammates’ expulsion from the club.

He returned to form when he joined Liga Deportiva Universitaria de Quito and was a key part of the club reaching the quarterfinals for the 2006 Copa Libertadores. However, he was banned from playing for taking part in a brawl on December 2006 after LDU de Quito’s 1 – 1 draw with Barcelona.

Despite the many scandals surrounding Delgado’s football career, it cannot be denied that he is a strong player with excellent aerial prowess and sense of positioning. He is also a superb finisher on both his right and left feet giving Delgado a reputation for being one of the most deadly strikers Ecuador has produced. Delgado retired from professional football in February 2011. He is currently the administrator for Serie B club Valle del Chota, a soccer club in his hometown, Ambuquí.

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Current Ecuador National Soccer Team Lineup

Marcelo Ramón Elizaga Ferrero

Marcelo Elizaga is a goalkeeper currently playing for Ecuadorian Serie A club Deportivo Quito. He is also the reserve goalkeeper for the Ecuadorian national team.

He is a naturalized Ecuadorian footballer born in Argentina on April 19, 1972. He started his career in the Argentine Second Division with Nueva Chicago in 1992 and transferred to the First Division Club Atletico Lanus in 1998. Before transferring to Ecuadorian club Emelec, he joined Quilmes Atletico Club in the Argentine Second Division in 2000.

He joined Emelec in 2004 and immediately showed his guarding skills between the goal posts. He was a fan favorite and has won several Goalkeeper of the Year awards ever since joining Emelec (2004, 2005, 2006, 2008, and 2009). He had stayed with Emelec for six years and even became its team captain.

However, on December 2010, he left Emelec for Deportivo Quito to the surprise of many.

Máximo Orlando Banguera Valdivieso

Máximo Banguera, born in Guayaquil on December 16, 1985 currently plays as the goalkeeper for Barcelona Sporting Club and is the starting goalkeeper for the Ecuadorian national football team. He started in the youth squads of ESPOLI in 2003 and graduated to the senior squad in 2004. Between 2004 and 2008, he has made 107 appearances for the club. He transferred to his current club Barcelona Sporting Club in 2009 and has made 90 appearances so far.

He was capped for the national team since 2008 and made his international debut in a match against Mexico in November 2008. He has made a total of five appearances for the national team so far.

Alexander Domínguez Carabalí

Alexander Domínguez, from Tachina, Esmeraldas where he was born on June 5, 1987 currently plays as the goalkeeper for LDU Quito and a reserve goalkeeper for the Ecuadorian national football team. He started in the youth squad of Esmeraldas in 2006 and transferred to LDU Quito in the same year. He was part of LDU Quito’s senior squad immediately.

In his stay with LDU Quito, he became the starting goalkeeper when Jose Francisco Cevallos retired. He was able to garner several honors; among these were the 2007 and 2010 Serie A championships, the 2009 Copa Sudamericana, and the 2009 and 2010 Recopa Sudamericana.

He currently holds the highest record without conceding a goal for an active football goalkeeper with 719 minutes.

Néicer Reasco Yano

Néicer Reasco currently plays as a defender for LDU Quito. He began playing football in the youth squad of Tres de Julio in 1994 and began playing professionally for LDU Quito in 1997. He stayed with the club for seven years and had garnered four Serie A titles with the club (1998, 1999, 2003, and 2005). Yano was born in San Lorenzo, Esmeraldas on July 23, 1977.

He played briefly with Newell’s Old Boys on loan and made 11 appearances. In 2006, he transferred to Brazilian soccer club Sao Paulo and gained titles again for the 2006 and 2007 Campeonato Brasileiro Serie A. He returned to his old team LDU Quito in the middle of 2008, helping the team win the 2009 Copa Sudamericana, the 2009 and 2010 Recopa Sudamericana, and the 2010 Apertura.

He played for the Ecuador national soccer team for the 2006 FIFA World Cup and the 2007 and 2011 Copa America.

Norberto Carlos Araujo López

Norberto Araujo currently plays as the central defender for LDU Quito. He was born in Argentina on October 13, 1978 and started playing for the Ecuadorian national team in the 2011 Copa America after obtaining his Ecuadorian citizenship in 2010.

Thirty-two year old Araujo started his professional career in 1996 in Finland for Premier Division club TPS where he made one appearance. He transferred to First Division club Kultsu before going back to Argentina to play for Aldovisi. He had also played for two other Argentine clubs in the Second Division after, namely Arsenal de Sarandi in 2000 and Racing de Cordoba in 2001. He moved to Peru to play for Sport Boys in 2002 and Sporting Cristal in 2004. In Sporting Cristal, he was able to win the 2005 Primera Division title.

He moved to Ecuador to play for LDU Quito in 2007. In his first season with the club, he was able to assist the team win the Serie A title that year. In 2008, LDU Quito won the 2008 Copa Libertadores. His stay with the club was instrumental in winning the 2009 Copa Sudamericana and the 2009 and 2010 Recopa Sudamericana.

Banner Geovanny Caicedo Quiñónez

Thirty year old Geovanny Caicedo currently plays as a defender for LDU Quito. He is from Esmeraldas where he was born on March 28, 1981. Caicedo started his career in the youth squad of Patria in 1998. He started playing professionally for Huracan in 2000. Since then, he has joined several teams in his professional football career namely Barcelona, Emelec, El Nacional, and Deportivo Quito before joining current team LDU Quito in 2011.

Diego Armando Calderón Espinoza

Diego Calderón, born in Quito, Ecuador on October 26, 1986 currently plays as a left back or center back defender for LDU Quito. He started in the youth squad of LDU Quito in 2003 and debuted professionally for the same team in 2005. He was loaned briefly to Deportivo Azogues in 2006 where he made 13 appearances and scored one goal. He was most famous for his display of defensive skills during the 2008 Copa Libertadores. However, he was injured and replaced by Renan Calle during the Round of 16.

In LDU Quito’s campaign for the 2008 FIFA Club World Cup, he featured regularly on the team’s starting eleven.

Gabriel Eduardo Achilier Zurita

March 24, 1985

Gabriel Achilier currently plays as a defender for Club Sport Emelec. He hails from Machala, Ecuador where he was born on March 24, 1985. Twenty-six year old Achilier started playing soccer professionally for Liga Deportiva Universitaria de Loja in 2000. In his stay with the club, he was able to display the necessary skills that made him one of the formidable defenders for the Ecuadorian national fútbol team. He moved to Deportivo Azogues where he continued showing his defensive skills.

Achilier was instrumental in the team’s qualification for the 2007 Liguilla Final of the Serie A. Despite not winning the tournament, the club still did well. However, in 2008, Azogues had a disappointing season and was demoted to the Second Division. Achilier was loaned to Emelec in the same year and in 2009, the club decided to purchase him for his ability to play different positions in the field.

Luis Armando Checa Villamar

Born in Ecuador on December 21, 1983, Luis Checa currently plays as a center back for Sociedad Deportivo Quito. He performed well in his first season and earned 27 appearances. He was moved to Nacional because of his impressive first season but only had a few appearances with the club before he was loaned to Aucas. He returned again to Deportivo Quito in 2008 and was a key player in the club’s win of their third title.

He had been first called to play for the Ecuadorian national team for a friendly match against Mexico in 2008. So far he has made five international appearances for the national soccer team.

Frickson Rafael Erazo Vivero

Esmeraldas-born Frickson Erazo is twenty three years old. Born on May 5, 1988, the 5 feet 11 inches-tall soccer player currently plays as a defender for El Nacional. He started in the youth squad of El Nacional in 2005 before debuting professionally for the same team in 2006. He is still with the same team until now but is loaned occasionally to Tecnico Universitario. He has been on loan with Tecnico Universitario since 2007.

So far he has made six appearances for the Ecuadorian national team and has one international goal to his name. Erazo is part of the 2011 Copa America squad.

Walter Orlando Ayoví Corozo

Walter Ayoví, born in Camarones, Esmeraldas in Ecuador on August 11, 1979 currently plays as midfielder for Monterrey. He is nicknamed “Macaco”. He first started playing football professionally for Emelec before transferring to Barcelona Sporting Club in 2002. He remained with the club until 2006 and transferred to Club Deportivo El Nacional. He was loaned to Club de Futbol Monterrey in early 2009 and he made his debut for a game against Estudiantes Tecos in February 2009. On March 2009, CF Monterrey decided to purchase him after his superb showing in the game between Brazil and Ecuador.

His stay with CF Monterrey saw the Mexican club winning the 2009 and 2010 Apertura. He has made 62 international appearances for the Ecuador national football team and has scored 7 goals.

Segundo Alejandro Castillo Nazareno

Born in San Lorenzo, Ecuador on May 15, 1982, Segundo Castillo currently plays for Primera Division Mexicana side CF Pachuca and is regularly used as a midfield defender but he can also play as a central midfielder. He started playing professionally for Club Deportivo Espoli where he netted 11 goals out of 66 appearances. He stayed with the club for three years before moving to Club Deportivo El Nacional where he earned league titles for 2005 and 2006.

He moved to Serbia and played with Red Star Belgrade in 2006. In his first season, he netted 8 goals leading the club to win the double in 2007. On August 2008, he was loaned to Everton, an English Premier League club. He was loaned again for another Premier League club in August 2009. This time, he played for the Wolverhampton Wanderers.

He debuted for the Ecuadorian national football team in 2003 and became a regular player for the national team since then. Alejandro has been capped 50 times and has kicked three goals.

Tilson Oswaldo Minda

Tilson Minda currently plays as a central midfielder for Sociedad Deportivo Quito. Born on July 26, 1983, he started in the youth squad of Santos FC at age 15. His professional football career began when he started playing for Sociedad Deportiva Aucas where his remarkable performance in the club garnered the attention of Club sport Emelec. He played with Emelec for their 2007 Copa Libertadores campaign but was only a reserve player for the club. He was sold to Deportivo Quito where his impressive performance on the pitch earned him the starter position. He partnered with Edwin Tenorio in the center midfield, which assisted the club to win the 2008 Ecuadorian Serie A title. Minda has made 5 international appearances for the Ecuador national football team since he was called up in 2008.

Luis Fernando Saritama Padilla

Luis Fernando Saritama, born in Loja, Ecuador on October 20, 1983 currently plays as a midfielder for Sociedad Deportivo Quito. He started his senior professional football career with Deportivo Quito in 2000. He then transferred to Peruvian First Division club Alianza Lima in 2004 and played a vital role in the club’s Clausura win. He returned to Deportivo Quito in 2005 where he became the team captain at only 22 years of age. He played for a brief period with the UANL Tigres in 2006 where his performance and that of the team’s were both underwhelming. He also played with Mexican side Club America to reinforce the team for their 2007 Copa Libertadores campaign. Again, his performance with the Mexican club was disappointing and he wasn’t signed.

Despite his previous performances with foreign clubs, Saritama displayed his winning form and helped Deportivo Quito secure their victory of the 2009 Serie A de Ecuador title. He started playing for the national football team of Ecuador since 2003 and was part of the 2011 Copa America squad and so far has made 15 international appearances.

Michael Antonio Arroyo Mina

Michael Arroyo currently plays as an attacking midfielder for San Luis Futbol Club. He started playing in Emelec’s youth squad at an early age, only 15. Arroyo was born in Guayaquil, Guayas, Ecuador on April 23, 1987. In 2006, he was promoted to the senior squad. However, he tested positive for marijuana in 2007 leading him to be banned from playing football for six months. He made a total of 73 appearances for Emelec until 2008 before moving to Deportivo Quito in January 2009. He made 42 appearances for the club and scored 14 goals. He later moved to Mexican Primera Division side San Luis Futbol Club in 2010.

He got the call up to play for the national football team for the South American Youth Championship in 2007. He joined the senior national team in 2010. He was also part of the 2011 Copa America lineup.

Édison Vicente Méndez Méndez

Édison Méndez is a midfielder currently playing for Emelec. He is a fast and accurate passer that can shoot goals in the long range. He is also exceptionally good in handling dead balls.

Méndez hails from Ibarra, Chota, Ecuador where he was born on March 16, 1979. He started playing professionally for Sociedad Deportivo Quito before transferring to Mexico to play for Primera Division side Club Irapuato. Despite scoring five goals out of 16 matches, Irapuato was relegated and Mendez transferred to Santos Laguna. In Santos Laguna, he struggled with his place in the team and he eventually returned to Ecuador to play for LDU Quito and played a part in the team’s win of the 2005 Apertura.

After the 2006 FIFA World Cup, Mendez signed with Netherlands club PSV Eindhoven and made an impressive debut by scoring two goals against Willem II for a 3 – 1 victory. He was also the first Ecuadorian to play and score a goal in the UEFA Champions League. His stint with PSV Eindhoven saw the club win the Eridivisie twice in 2006-07 and 2007-08.

Before transferring to current club Emelec in 2011, Mendez had played for Ecuadorian club LDU Quito in 2009 where he gained the 2009 Copa Sudamericana and Brazilian Serie A club Atletico Mineiro.

He participated in the Ecuador U-20 squad in 1999 for the South American U-20 Championship. He was part of the senior national team for the 2000 Olympics, 2002 and 2006 FIFA World Cup, and the 2007 and 2011 Copa America. From his call up to the national football team in 2000, he has made 90 international appearances and had booted 15 goals.

Christian Fernando Noboa Tello

Christian Noboa currently plays as a midfielder for Russian Premier League club FC Rubin Kazan. Noboa was born in Guayaquil on April 9, 1985. He started his professional football career with Emelec and eventually worked his way to the starting lineup. His superb performance in Emelec garnered interest from several clubs and he eventually signed with Russian premier league FC Rubin Kazan in 2007. He proved to be a flexible player able to switch gears and positions. He assisted the club to win its first title in the Russian Premier League in 2008. He was a team captain by 2010 and was the key player that led to a draw for FC Rubin Kazan and FC Barcelona in a Champion’s League match.

He was first called up for the Ecuadorian national football team for a couple of friendly matches in 2006. He played a significant role in Ecuador’s qualifying games for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. To date Noboa has made 16 appearances for the national team and booted two goals.

Luis Antonio Valencia Mosquera

Antonio Valencia currently plays as a winger for English Premier League side Manchester United. He was born in Nueva Loja in the Amazon Rainforest on August 4, 1985. As a young boy, Valencia sold drinks with his mother outside the local stadium of Lago Agrio. He also collected empty bottles and gave them to his father to be sold at the bottle deposit in Quito. When he was 11 years old, a scout playing football spotted him near his home. The scout, Pedro Perlaza signed him to play for a local Sucumbius sports academy. When he was 16, he left home to play for El Nacional.

Valencia began playing in the central midfield position and progressed through the youth squad of El Nacional and became a regular for the first team. He had more than 80 appearances for the club and by 2005 he had signed with La Liga Club Villareal CF.

He failed to make it into the first team in Villareal CF and was loaned to Recreativo de Huelva for its 2005 and 2006 seasons. It was a successful loan as Recreativo saw itself being promoted in La Liga. He was loaned again to English Premier League side Wigan Athletic in 2006, which ended to a transfer in 2008 for his exemplary performance at the club. His performance attracted the attention of Real Madrid but no deal was reached. Manchester United acquired Valencia instead for an undisclosed fee.

His stint with Manchester United saw Valencia earning the 2009-2010 Football League Cup and the Man of the Match award for his assist in the winning goal of the finals match. He was also voted for the 2010 PFA Premier League Team of the Year. In addition, he had also earned two FA Community Shields in 2010 and 2011. He was also the first Ecuadorian footballer to win a Premier League title.

He debuted for the Ecuadorian national team in the U-20 category where he made 17 goals out of 23 matches. He also represented Ecuador in the 2006 FIFA World Cup and the 2007 and 2011 Copa America. In the senior division of the Ecuadorian national football league, Valencia has booted 6 goals in 44 appearances.

Mario David Quiroz Villón

Also from Guayaquil like some of his teammates in the national football team of Uruguay, David Quiroz was born on September 8, 1982. He is a midfielder currently playing for Emelec. He started playing professionally for El Nacional and was part of the starting eleven line up for the club’s campaigns for the 2007 Copa Sudamericana and the 2007 Copa Libertadores. He made a total of 206 appearances for the team and netted 36 goals.

In 2008, Quiroz signed with Ecuadorian FC Barcelona and was also a regular part of the team’s starting lineup. His excellent performance for the team led to 39 appearances in one season where he made 11 goals. In 2009, he was signed by current team Emelec for three years. So far, he has made 18 goals out of 89 appearances.

He was selected for the 2007 Copa America squad but saw no playing time. He had playing time, however, in the 2010 qualifying matches for the World Cup. Since 2004, he has made a total of 21 international appearances for his country.

Jaime Javier Ayoví Corozo

Only 23 years old, young Jaime Ayoví is a forward currently playing for Mexican club CF Pachuca. He hails from Eloy Alfaro, Esmeraldas, Ecuador where he was born on February 21, 1988. He started playing in the youth squad of Paladin “S” in 2004 and Club Social, Cultural y Deportivo ESPOL in 2005. At 18 years of age he tried out for the senior squad with Emelec in 2006 and was immediately signed up for a four year deal.

With his 186 cm (6 ft 1 in) height, Ayovi seemed better suited as a center instead of a winger. However, his speed and skill with the ball and his predilection to run at the sides made him better suited as a winger. He was loaned to Manta on 2009 to gain more experience. On 2010, Emelec made him first substitute for Argentine striker Herman Peirone. As he was given more opportunities to play, his talent with the ball began to be more apparent and he became the starting choice for the team.

At the end of the 2010 season, Ayovi signed with Toluca where he made five goals out of 12 appearances before playing with CF Pachuca in 2011. He received his call up to the Ecuador national football squad in 2011 and had already booted 2 goals in 10 appearances.

Christian Rogelio Benítez Betancourt

Christian Benítez, nicknamed “Chucho”, currently plays as a forward for Primera Division de Mexico side Club America. Born in Quito on May 1, 1986 Benitez started playing for El Nacional before moving to Primera Division de Mexico side Santos Laguna in 2007. He made an impressive start at the Mexican club leading the team to win the 2008 Clausura and him getting the Best Player of the Season award. Despite interest from Portuguese giant SL Benfica, Benitez played for Birmingham City on loan in June 2009.

He returned to Santos Laguna in July 2010, signing a three year contract. In his return, he was the team’s top goal scorer with 15 goals. He transferred to Club America in May 2011 for $10 million, a record fee for a Mexican club.

He was part of the Ecuadorian national team for the 2006 FIFA World Cup where he showcased his speed and skill in the preliminary World Cup showings. He was also a starter for Ecuador’s 2007 Copa America campaign. His current (August 2011) goal tally for the national football team is 16 in 42 international appearances.

His father is Ermen Benitez, a former Ecuador footballer. His wife, Liseth, is the daughter of another international footballer, Cleber Chala. In 2009 his wife gave birth to twins.

Felipe Salvador Caicedo Corozo

Guayaquil-born Felipe Caicedo currently plays as a striker for Russian club Lokomotiv Moscow. When he was still 17 years old (born September 5, 1988), Caicedo was signed by Swiss Super League club FC Basel from Ecuadorian club Rocafuerte. He made 20 appearances for Basel in the 2006-2007 season before transferring to Manchester City for a transfer fee of €7 million. After Manchester City signed several other forwards, Caicedo was loaned to Sporting Clube de Portugal with an option for a permanent deal to get more playing time. He had a hard time in Sporting and the loan deal was prematurely cut short.

He was loaned to Spanish club Malaga and through Caicedo’s heroic assist in a game against Real Madrid, and the club was able to avoid relegation. He was loaned again to Levante before transferring to Lokomotiv Moscow. He signed with Lokomotiv Moscow in July 2011 for a four year contract worth €7.5 million.

He was selected to play for the 2007 South American Youth Championships and the 2007 and 2011 Copa America. In his 32 international appearances for Ecuador, Caicedo has booted 5 goals.

Arrinton Narciso Mina Villalba

Narciso Mina is from San Lorenzo, Ecuador where he was born on November 25, 1982. He is a striker currently not connected to any club. He started in the youth squad of Deportivo Cuenca in 2000 and graduated into the senior ranks by 2002. Between 2004 and 2008, he played for several clubs namely LDU Cuenca, Deportivo Cuenca, LDU Loja, Deportivo Azogues, and Manta. In 2009, he was connected with Barcelona Guayaquil and was loaned to Huracan for the 2009 season and loaned again in 2010 to Ukrainian Premier League FC Chomomorets Odessa. He played for Manta again in 2010 where he made 21 appearances. In 2011, he played with Independiente José Terán and had made 12 goals out of 18 appearances so far. He has made 3 international appearances for Ecuador since his call up in 2008.

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