Just over a month away from the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup, Canada Soccer has announced that Alphonso Davies is eligible for selection for the men’s national team after recently passing his Canadian citizenship test and taking his Oath of Citizenship on Tuesday.
The 16-year-old Davies was born in Monrovia, Liberia but moved to Canada when he was four. He has represented Canada at youth national team camps in the past, but could never do so in official FIFA matches because he did not have his Canadian citizenship.
“I am overwhelmed and I am glad I can make my parents proud by becoming a Canadian citizen,” Davies said. “It has been a long journey becoming a Canadian citizen.”
Davies is considered one of the most promising young players in North America and last year became the second-youngest starter in MLS history at age 15. He plays on the left wing and is on the radar of several European clubs, including Manchester United.
He has always maintained that he would represent Canada once he became eligible. However, his lack of citizenship and past heartbreak with elite talents had many Canada fans waiting nervously. The above picture of Davies holding up a Canada shirt alongside new Canada Soccer president Steve Reed should extinguish those fears.
In Davies, the men’s national team has a potential star of the future who could make his debut as soon as the Gold Cup this summer. Canada belatedly revealed its 40-man preliminary roster for the tournament almost immediately after confirming Davies had acquired citizenship, suggesting they received special dispensation from CONCACAF to miss last week’s deadline in order for Davies to become eligible.
“I am really excited to be called into Canada Soccer’s men’s national team,” Davies added. “Canada Soccer worked extremely hard to get me where I am right now and I am very grateful. I am really glad they took their time and put the effort in me in helping me get my citizenship.”
Canadian coach Octavio Zambrano had previously told Neil Davidson of the Canadian Press that Davies would be invited to national team camp as soon as his passport arrived.
Canada supporters will be hoping Davies’ commitment will be the first of many. Since taking over as head coach, Zambrano has been looking to increase his player pool and has reportedly met with Bryan Cristante and Lucas Cavallini regarding the national team, with the latter subsequently included on the Gold Cup list.
Davies has joined Canada’s senior men’s squad at their camp in Laval, Que. and could feature in the June 13 friendly against Curacao ahead of the Gold Cup. Toronto FC’s Tosaint Ricketts was recently ruled out of the camp with a hamstring injury and was replaced by Nicolas Galvis, a 20-year-old listed as unattached by Canada Soccer but who was most recently affiliated with Once Caldas of Colombia.