Future Bayern Munich winger Alphonso Davies has been named the Canadian Men's Player of the Year for 2018, becoming the youngest ever recipient of the award.
Davies, who only turned 18 at the start of November, has enjoyed a breakout calendar year with MLS outfit the Vancouver Whitecaps and the Canada men's national team, and his contribution was recognised at the 26th edition of the Canada Soccer Player Awards, voted for by Canadian media and coaches.
"He has been a standout performer for club and country and that is just a consistent reality now for Alphonso Davies," enthused Canada national coach John Herdman. "For club, he picked up many an accolade, culminating with what looks like one of the biggest signings our country has ever seen."
The signing in question is of course Davies' imminent switch to Bayern and the Bundesliga, which will be made official during the upcoming international break. The Ghana-born prodigy has already arrived in Bavaria for a month-long settling-in period, and enjoyed his first training session at Säbener Straße at the end of November.
Born to Liberian parents in the Buduburam refugee camp in Ghana, Davies moved with his family to Canada as a boy and was raised in the city of Edmonton. He was granted Canadian citizenship in June 2017, and made his debut for The Canucks in a friendly with Curaçao the following week.
"That was a great moment for the family," admitted Davies, who later delivered a moving speech at the FIFA Congress which saw Canada granted co-hosting rights for the 2026 FIFA World Cup. "I'm glad I could get it. It's going to mean a lot, representing the country I've lived in for most of my life. Having that crest on my chest playing for them is going to mean a lot for me."
A month later, at just 16, Davies became Canada's youngest ever goalscorer, and he has continued to stand out as potentially the most talented player of his generation. This year, he has provided four assists in wins over the US Virgin Islands (8-0), Dominica (5-0) and St Kitts and Nevis (1-0) as Canada have closed on qualification for the 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup. They have a crunch final game with French Guiana to come in March 2019.
"For Canada, every time he has been asked to take a responsibility and support the team, even playing out of position, he has shown his character," continued Herdman, who has deployed Davies as a left-back in his last three national outings. "He's just a humble guy who loves the game and will do whatever it takes to be successful."
Before flying out to the south of Germany, Davies also enjoyed a stellar MLS campaign with the Vancouver Whitecaps, racking up eight goals and 11 assists in 31 appearances. As well as garnering national attention – particularly after news of his Bayern transfer broke – he was selected for the 2018 MLS All-Star Game and topped the division's '22 Under 22' list.
Davies may now be looking to follow in the footsteps of his legendary compatriot Christine Sinclair, who captains the women's national team and just won the Women's Player of the Year award for the 14th time. Described by new coach Niko Kovac as a "diamond in the rough" and earmarked for the first-team squad, Canada's latest gem could well be set for a glittering career with the record Bundesliga champions.