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Northern Exposure: Jonathan David becomes the most valuable Belgian League player ever

There’s plenty of positive action in this week’s Canada Soccer wrap up

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Canada v Cuba: Group A - 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup
Jonathan David of Canada celebrates after scoring a goal

Jonathan David is the most valuable Belgian League player ever

During a breakout year for KAA Gent in the Belgian First Division, Canadian National Team player Jonathan David has seen his value skyrocket to the point where he is now considered the most valuable player to have ever played in the league, according to Transfermarkt. This is an amazing and historic moment for a Canadian player specifically and Canadian soccer in general.

Jonathan David has already garnered the interest of some big European clubs. Many of the big German clubs, including Bayern Munich, have been especially interested in David’s services and he seems keen to play in Germany. Could we see two Canadian National Team players, Alphonso Davies and David, united again but this time as teammates on one of the biggest clubs in the world? What an amazing turn of events that would be!

CPL unveils new documentary

You can now relive the final of the inaugural Canadian Premier League season with the newly released documentary Forever First: Rise to the Finals. The two-legged final saw Forge FC overcome powerhouse Cavalry FC to become the Canadian Premier League Champions. The documentary film crew followed each team over the two legs before, during and after the games getting some amazing footage and interviews.

After the screening of the documentary the hosts at OneSoccer invited the two coaches, Bobby Smyrniotis from Forge and Tommy Wheeldon Jr. from Cavalry, to be part of a special review show where they shared their thoughts and memories from the final.

Canada Soccer hosting webinar

During this time of social distancing Canada Soccer is doing what it can to keep our soccer community connected by bringing the sport to Canadians in their homes through the new Canada Soccer Nation Inside campaign. This new feature will include online education, National Team player features and access, grassroots activities and digital engagement.

It kicks off with a live webinar on Apr 4 at 3pm (EST) that will educate participants about the National Excel Tactical Framework. National team coach John Herdman will host the webinar along with other EXCEL program staff. Attendance is free and you can sign up here.

Ex-Liga MX players coming to the CPL

The recent addition of Francisco Acuña from Liga MX in Mexico to Atlético Ottawa marks the second time a player has been signed to the Canadian Premier League from Liga MX.

Earlier this year Pacific FC made an announcement that they had signed Mexican forward Alejandro Diaz from legendary Liga MX side Club América.

Although one the major goals of the Canadian Premier League is to give Canadians a professional league that they can play in and continue their development with the focus of helping our National Team reach the World Cup, there is definitely a need to inject the league with some quality international professionals as well. And these Liga MX signings will help do just that as young Canadian players will get a chance to interact and learn from players who have played in bigger leagues with higher caliber teams.

Nations League boosting Concacaf quality

In 2019 the CanMNT took part in the first ever edition of the Concacaf Nations League. Most Canadian National Team supporters will remember that night in Toronto at BMO Field where the MNT finally beat the US for the first time in 34 years in Nations League action.

Late in 2019 Concacaf President Victor Montagliani was interviewed on Footy Prime The Podcast and was asked about the Concacaf region and the new Nations League tournament. According to Montagliani the goal of this new tournament was to replace most of the meaningless friendlies that national teams from this region had historically took part in (unless they were competing in World Cup Qualifiers or Gold Cup matches). This in turn leads to more exposure for young up and coming talent from this region.

In the past because of the limited number of competitive international matches in the Concacaf region many teams suffered from a lack of playing time and international experience. But with the advent of Nations League many of these teams, including Canada, are now reaping the benefits of more regular playing schedules with their national teams. Some of the nations that have been boosted the most by Nations League are those in the Caribbean.

The fact that the Canadian National Team will now potentially be playing more regular games against teams from the Caribbean opens up some interesting opportunities for Canada Soccer and Canadian tourism. With many of the FIFA international windows falling on the fall, winter and early spring months in Canada there is a chance that the fixtures between Canada and the Caribbean nations could make for interesting tourism package opportunities. Imagine flying to the Bahamas, Barbados or Bermuda to catch the Canadian National Team play in a Nations League match and then tacking on a week-long all inclusive beach vacation in those countries.

If it was done right, there could be a decent sized Canadian fan contingent cheering at the games and patronizing one or more of the local resorts. The Caribbean isn’t that long of a flight from Canada, and in time this event could become a unique part of Canadian soccer culture. I for one would love to cheer for my national team and then party with my fellow Canadians under the warm tropical sun.