By Simon Fudge/whitecapsfc.com
Vancouver Whitecaps FC Residency midfielder Philippe Davies is hoping 2009 will be a memorable year in his soccer career.
The 18-year-old has reason to be optimistic for the coming season after finishing 2008 on a busy note. The Longueuil, Quebec, native was part of the Residency squad's highly successful trip to Japan last month, as Thomas Niendorf's side claimed victories in all five friendly matches they played in the Far East nation. Before he could get his mind around the holiday season, Davies joined Residency teammates Ethan Gage, Julien Latendresse-Levesque, and Adam Straith in Florida for a week-long training camp with Canada's U-20 men's national team.
With qualification for next year's FIFA U-20 World Cup set for Trinidad & Tobago next March, Davies hopes he has made enough of an impression with head coach Tony Fonseca to make the springtime trip to the Caribbean. "The December camp felt pretty good, as I've been working towards getting into the U-20 squad," he told whitecapsfc.com. "Every player that was in Florida had something to offer the team, so that in itself is a very good sign for the team."
Davies' call-up is a positive reflection of the progress that the youngster has made since joining the Residency program in September 2007. Trips to Germany and Dallas Cup XXIX have all helped in the midfielder's development, while his contribution to the team's first-ever season in the USL Premier Development League allowed the young 'Caps to reach the playoff semifinals before losing to eventual league champions Thunder Bay Chill last summer.
The talented teenager admits he has noticed a marked improvement in his game since moving to Vancouver more than a year ago. "The technical aspect of my game has really improved, as I'm able to move the ball more quickly," he said. "As a midfielder, my passing needs to be accurate, whether it is playing short or long passes. The Residency program has helped me with adding more accuracy to my passing. This makes it easier to play more difficult passes and have a higher rate of success in making those passes work."
Davies hopes his efforts have caught the attention of men's team head coach Teitur Thordarson, with the midfielder keen to follow the likes of Gage and striker Randy Edwini-Bonsu in earning action with the first team. "I'd like to gain some playing time next season," he admitted. "Working with the likes of Martin Nash was a big boost for me in training last year, while seeing the likes of Randy and Ethan getting a chance to play with the first team has been really encouraging to me. It makes me think that I can play at that level very soon."
With so much to forward to over the next 12 months, Davies remains focused on fulfilling his aspirations, even over the holiday period in his native Quebec. "It's always good to see your family at this time of year, but I will be working on my fitness during that time."
Whitecaps 2009 season tickets are now on sale. Season tickets include all men’s and women's team regular season and playoff home matches at Swangard Stadium, Nutrilite Canadian Championship home matches against Toronto FC and Montreal Impact, as well as priority listing for BC Place and the proposed Whitecaps Waterfront Stadium. For more information on the 2009 season ticket packages, call 604.669.WAVE (9283) or CLICK HERE.