Erick Zambrano is a 15-year-old attacker who plays for Orense SC and Ecuador U17. Zambrano is the youngest player (younger than Kendry Paez) to ever play in the Ecuadorian Liga Pro. He already has made several sub appearances for the first team of Orense, being slowly integrated into the first team whilst also playing regularly for Orense U19. Erick Zambrano started his career of at Independiente del Valle but moved to Orense in 2022. After scoring a lot of goals for the U15s (23 in 15), Orense rewarded him with a promotion to the U19s in 2023. Zambrano is now the most important player for the U19s scoring 7 in 10 and developing very quickly. This drew the attention to Diego Martinez (Ecuador U17’s manager) who called him up for the Copa Tango MDM. Zambrano impressed again and is now on his way to playing at the U17 World Cup for Ecuador.
Standing at around 1.73m – 1.76m, Erick Zambrano is not the tallest attacker in the world. Though, with his strong upper body and power in his legs he compensates for his smaller height. The attacker generates a lot of power from his legs and does not look out of place phyiscally against senior-level opponents. He is strong in shoulder-to-shoulder duels and holds his own in physical duels with his back towards the goal. Zambrano displays good bursts while also having good speed over longer distances. He can make quick changes of directions and has the ability to turn sharply with the ball at his feet. He displays great athleticism, footwork and flexibility. He does not get into aerial duels that often but has potential in that area despite not being the tallest due to his leg power and upper body strength.
The attacker often plays as a left-winger for Orense U19 & Ecuador U17. He mainly got subbed on as one of the two strikers for the first team. Erick Zambrano is tactically still adapting to the first team, seemingly not always knowing where to position himself or when to make a run. Zambrano displayed glimpses of his good off-the-ball movement in the box for the first team, while more regularly showing this for Orense U19 & Ecuador U17 when he operates in a more central role. The attacker has a good first touch under pressure but sporadically has lapses of concentration leading to a sloppy touch. He opens up his body well while receiving which allows him to take a progressive touch. His short passing technique is clean and he is comfortable playing one-touch football. His long passing technique can be worked on. All by all, Zambrano is very secure on the ball and hardly ever loses the ball.
Zambrano has good ball-carrying ability due to his good burst, strength and close control. In isolated 1v1s on the wing, he mainly relies on his strength and speed to create separation. His cut-backs from the left are very inconsistent. He does not always look over the ball and spot a teammate in space as he sometimes wildly puts the ball into a dangerous area. Zambrano likes to drop deep to receive possession in midfield, especially when Orense U19 are trailing he tends to overcompensate. He wants to be at the base of every attack and tries to shoot from questionable shooting locations. Zambrano has good ball-striking from close range and is very composed in 1v1s or from the edge of the area. He displayed his poaching instincts and good positioning in the box sporadically for all the teams he played for but it is definitely there.
Erick Zambrano seems to have a very good mentality. He always works really hard and has impressive stamina for someone of his age. It says enough that he has been promoted to the first team at the age of 15. There was one moment in which he lost his cool and kicked his opponent leading to a red card but he definitely is not overly aggressive. Zambrano always presses his opponents with high-intensity and one of those moments actually led to a goal for Zambrano.
All things considered, Erick Zambrano is definitely a striker and not a left-winger. He has the potential to become very good at holding up play due to his strength, good short passing technique and his ability to turn away sharply from his opponent. Zambrano also has very good finishing ability due to his good ball-striking and good poaching instincts. He can really lead the line for his team and with a bit more senior-level experience he will become Orense’s first-choice striker until he becomes 18 before making a move to Europe in the winter of 2026. Erick Zambrano has the potential to play for Europa League teams in the top 5 leagues but only if he continuously plays as a striker.