Jairo Reyes is a 16-year-old defensive midfielder who is currently playing for the under 17’s of Independiente del Valle. The Ecuador under 17 youth international already made his debut for the under 19’s in 2022, while also playing several matches for the under 18’s in 2021. I watched Reyes for Independiente del Valle under 17 in regular league matches and the play-offs, for Ecuador under 17 and for Independiente del Valle under 16 in the Adidas Cup.
Jairo Reyes has a good build for a defensive midfielder, standing at around 1.80 meters with a normal build. The Ecuadorian youth international can be strong in the duels, but sometimes keeps too much distance in 1v1 duels, allowing his opponent to shoot from distance. Reyes is a very mobile defensive midfielder, moving well and changing directions quickly. He is fast on both short and long distances. As Reyes seemingly generates a lot of power through his legs, he has a good leap in aerial duels and he does not lose many physical battles in midfield. Also on the ball, Reyes does not get dispossessed easily because of his strong physical attributes.
Playing as a defensive midfielder in the Independiente del Valle system, Jairo Reyes must have a good technique. And that’s true. The Ecuadorian has a great first touch under pressure and usually acts as the deep-lying playmaker for the youth teams of Independiente del Valle. Both his short and long passing technique are really good. He does play some sloppy passes every now and then, but his line-breaking passes are played with the right amount of power and display his good vision. Reyes is very composed under pressure and has an extensive passing range. While Reyes mainly progresses play by passes, his dribbling technique and ability to get past his marker are both at a good level. Jairo Reyes is right-footed and does not use his weak foot that often.
Jairo Reyes has good movement in first-phase possession, making the right runs and often receiving the ball in space. He is active in possession and always wants to have the ball. The Ecuadorian makes the right decisions in possession and helps Independiente del Valle progress play with good line-breaking passes or long passes to the wings. Defensively, there is room for improvement as Jairo Reyes sometimes tends to put pressure high up the pitch, leaving gaps in midfield because he is playing as a single defensive midfielder. He should stay in position more. When the opponent have settled possession on Independiente del Valle’s half, Reyes also tends to move slightly out of position as he fails to cut passing lines. There’s sometimes too much space between the defensive and midfield line because of Reyes’s positioning too.
The midfielder plays with high intensity in big matches, but has the tendency to lose concentration and focus against lower-level opponents or when Independiente del Valle are winning by a big margin. In those particular moments, Reyes tends to take too long to release the ball and he has a lot of sloppy touches and passes. However, in higher-tempo matches, this is much less the case. It is something to keep an eye out for in the future though.
Concluding, I think that Jairo Reyes is a very well-rounded player and I’ve been told that he has a good mentality, while also being surrounded by the right people. The midfielder will make the jump to the under 19’s (or u18’s depending on which team IDV registers) in 2023 and could possibly come close to making his debut near the end of 2023 depending on his development. He would fit well in the playing style of Independiente del Valle in Pellerano’s defensive midfield position. For the long-term, I think that Jairo Reyes has the potential to play for a mid-table La Liga side. Belgian clubs should consider him as a target when he turns 18.
It seems like Ecuador is producing a lot of center backs and midfielders lately but the position that the senior teams lacks the most depth right now is center forward. Have you seen any good center forward prospects? Have you watched Marcos Zambrano from the Philadelphia Union academy and do you think he’ll pick Ecuador or United States at senior level?
I have not watched Marcos Zambrano yet. I think Justin Cuero, Allen Obando and Michael Ayovi are all decent but none of them are top talents. It will be hard to find a good striker in Ecuador I’m afraid.