Jostin Lerma (Independiente del Valle) – Scout Report

Jostin Lerma is a 15-year-old midfielder who is currently playing in the youth academy of Independiente del Valle. The young prospect started his youth career at Guayaquil City but moved to Independiente del Valle in 2021. He originally started in the under 16’s of Independiente Juniors but has been playing for both the under 15’s and under 17’s for Independiente del Valle in 2022 and 2023, while he is currently also featuring for the under 18’s in the Copa Tango MDM. Lerma has already signed a deal with Adidas, while also being signed by AGN Football. I’ve tracked Jostin Lerma’s development since the Next Generation Trophy in August 2022.

Standing at around 1.80-1.85 meters with a slim build, Jostin Lerma is very tall for his age. He has explosive speed on the first meters and is very quick over long distances too. Lerma is capable of turning very quickly and sharply with the ball at his feet, also because he is very light on his feet. He avoids tackles and challenges excellently, displaying his good athleticism and balance. The midfielder has very good footwork in small spaces. He sometimes gets dispossessed when he tries to protect the ball because of his lack of physique. Lerma will develop his physique over the upcoming years, though. The Ecuadorian has excellent stamina for his age.

Jostin Lerma has played as both a central midfielder and a left-winger. Against similar aged opponents, Lerma likes to take on opponents. His speed, ball control in small spaces, footwork, athleticism and quick feints allow him to successfully take on multiple opponents at once. He is a bit more passive and cautious against older opponents, looking to pass the ball around more often. His short passing is very solid and secure. Lerma has an excellent understanding for the game, especially at the age of 15. He knows exactly when to take risks or recycle possession. Lerma spreads the play really well, displaying his impressive long passing technique. He is always looking for quick and short combinations and is a very dynamic midfielder.

Lerma has quick decision-making under pressure, but rarely needs two or more touches to control the ball, especially if his first touch is with his left foot. He displays excellent composure on the ball. Lerma often delays his action (pausa) to create more time and options for himself. Jostin Lerma is excellent in 1v1 situations under pressure, as his footwork, close control and sharp turns in the tight spaces are magnificent. He always manages to play out of pressure in these situations. As a winger, Lerma is capable of dribbling past his opponent on both sides. He delivers plenty of good and dangerous crosses with his weaker left foot but can also cut inside to his stronger right foot and put in an inswinging cross. Lerma’s striking technique is good but sporadically he hits the ball off-balance. I would like Lerma to make more runs into the box playing as an advanced 8. If he can develop that skill, he would score even more goals, also in a different age group.

Defensively, he sporadically has the tendency to stay forward, especially when he is playing as a winger. Though, as a central midfielder, Jostin Lerma is a very aggressive presser high up the pitch. He reads his opponents really well and seemingly always is one step ahead of his opponent. His explosive acceleration allows Lerma to close down quickly his opponent and intercept the ball. Jostin Lerma displays excellent anticipation in the final third to pick up loose balls. He occasionally gets dragged out wide by his opponents but all central midfielders of Independiente del Valle under 18 had this tendency, implying that it’s part of Juan MartĂ­nez’s tactics. He cuts passing lanes very well.

Even though Jostin Lerma is only 15 years old, there is sufficient reason to believe that Jostin Lerma is an elite talent with world-class potential. I think he deserves to be a regular starter for Independiente del Valle under 17 but I think he will also make his debut for the under 19’s this year. Jostin Lerma will probably make his first-team debut in the second half of 2024 if he keeps developing like this. For now, I would like Lerma to make more late runs into the box, while also developing his physique and becoming even more consistent with his left foot. I think he will develop into a world-class advanced 8 in a 4-3-3.

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