Fast. Direct. Skillful. Exciting. These are four words that could be used to describe Eynel Soares. The Cape Verde native started his professional career in the Sporting Braga system. He made his debut for the Sporting Braga II side, before going on to play with both the Under 19 and Under 23 teams over the next 2 years. Soares left Braga in 2020, and finally joined Slovakian side AS Trenčin in 2022. Since joining, he’s solidified his position on the left wing, contributing 3 goals and 6 assists last season for the two time Slovak champions.
Soares plays as an inverted winger for Trenčin. A player who much prefers using his dominant foot, he uses quick, precise, controlled touches with the outside of the right foot to drive at his opponent. When going past the opposition, he favours two different tactics. Firstly, he looks to fake down the line and cut inside to either create a chance from a central position, or use that powerful shot of his. Alternatively, he will use this fake to his advantage and instead continue directly down the wing and aim to either float a cross in, or drill a ball along the ground into the danger area. Though, even when he gets past his man on the outside, he does still have a habit of occasionally cutting back and crossing with his stronger right foot. If he’s not able to get by his player, he’ll usually find half a yard of space, get the ball onto his right foot, and whip a ball into the box.
One of my favourite things about Soares is his directness. It’s refreshing to see a winger that’s so confident at beating his man, and who’s first thought is “Can I go forward?”. He can sometimes be guilty of taking one too many touches when driving forward, but usually has the tactical intelligence to release the ball in time. He not only is direct from a “heels to the sideline” position, but also drifts inside to take up a more central position just off of the centre forward. When he finds himself in this central position, he likes to occupy the area just outside the edge of the box when the ball is out wide, in order to pick up any scraps that come out to him. Even though he does regularly find himself in what’s effectively a centre forward position, he lacks that poacher’s intuition to find space to receive the ball for a first time finish inside the box.
This is also evident in other aspects of his game. His final product can sometimes be a bit lacking. Whether it’s not making the decision to shoot on sight and instead deciding to take extra touches, or choosing the incorrect pass for a teammate, his final ball could be better. With a little bit more confidence and improvement in his decision making in that aspect of his game, I think he’d quite easily hit double figures for both goals and assists.
The lightning quick winger has both a fantastic top speed, and incredible agility. Even though his small size gives him a good centre of gravity, he’s not exactly the strongest player. He does well to circumvent this though, by using his size, speed and agility to get away from players and avoiding the physical battle that he would be less likely to win.
When he does lose the ball, he can be a bit hot and cold defensively. Sometimes he’ll work himself into the ground to get back to defend for his team, and sometimes he’ll just give up and start walking back. The same goes for when his teammates lose the ball. You’re not sure whether he’ll instantly get back goal side of the ball and be a menace to the opposition, or if he’ll slowly come back from his forward position. This could either be a fitness issue, which can be excused due to the amount of running he does, or an attitude issue.
Even with these minor flaws, Eynel Soares is destined to move on to bigger things. If AS Trenčin aren’t pushing towards the top end of the league and European spots this year, then we might not see Soares here for the 24/25 season. At 24 years of age, he’s coming to a point where he needs to push himself to the highest level he can. For me, that level is above the Slovak League.