In an annual assessment of top young players across the league, the Vancouver Whitecaps’ Alphonso Davies was voted into the #1 spot of the MLS 22 Under 22. With a focus on “technical ability, tactical IQ, physical attributes and future potential,” Davies was voted into the top spot by a panel of MLS writers, editors, and media members.
This is the second time a member of the Vancouver Whitecaps has been selected as a top young player in the MLS, as Darren Mattocks took the title in the 2012 incarnation.
False modesty aside, it can’t come as too shocking to see Davies’ name top the list. He’s unquestionably an electrifying player with the ball at his feet, both in the eye test...
73' - Alphonso Davies is FLYING. #CanChamp #VWFC pic.twitter.com/lJLom6QLmP— Vancouver Whitecaps (@WhitecapsFC) August 9, 2018
Ladies & gentlemen - the electric Alphonso Davies pic.twitter.com/FQsLPWZX6G— Valourpeg Blog (@ValourpegBlog) September 30, 2018
"Hi, allow me to introduce myself..." - Alphonso Davies— Vancouver Whitecaps (@WhitecapsFC) August 2, 2018
(probably) #VWFC pic.twitter.com/5qrinc1DTN
...and statistically speaking, what with the Successful Dribble tallies that are mentioned every time Davies sees the pitch (he’s presently averaging 4.4 per match) or, more recently, having become the youngest player in MLS history to record at least ten assists in a single season.
He’s arguably been the Whitecaps most influential player in 2018, was deservedly selected by the commissioner to play in the ‘18 All-Star Game in Atlanta (getting himself mic’d up in the process, no less), and is either setting up or scoring highlight reel goals. All this has culminated with an MLS-Record Transfer fee to Bundesliga giants, Bayern Munich, set to be finalized at the completion of this MLS season. He even made a cameo in the Colin Kaepernick Nike commercial!
Having done this all before he’s turned 18 makes Davies’ achievements all the more remarkable.
Keep in mind, however, that the 22 Under 22 ranking is one that takes a player’s potential into consideration more than anything else. The MLS will always have an eye on the development of young talent, whether its homegrown or international. Given his age, Davies could feasibly top this list again and again were it not for the pending transfer to Bayern.
Then again, when the question, “Who’s next?” is asked, it’s not simply referring to a present, finite skill set, but rather a challenge to those in the league to continue growing and truly flourish.
And we shouldn’t want to be satisfied with Davies topping this yearly list, anyway. If it were all about potential, wouldn’t a continuous inclusion imply that he’d forever be grasping at the realm of talent and ability of which we would hope he could achieve?
It’s clearly not lost on the footballing world that there’s a phenomenal talent presently on the pitch in Vancouver, considering what he’s already capable of and the clamor its created. But even if we’re bidding him adieu twenty-four days from now, this new accolade suggests that Alphonso Davies is on the brink of potentially becoming an all-time great.