OTTAWA, ONT – On Wednesday night in the nation’s capital, Alphonso Davies became the youngest player to ever appear in an official Vancouver Whitecaps FC first-team match.
At 15 years and 212 days old, he’s also the youngest player to appear in the Canadian Championship.
The Canadian youth international, who was born in Liberia and now calls Edmonton home, looked “very sharp and very bright” after getting subbed into the match in the 72nd minute, according to Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson.
Davies, a short-term call-up from WFC2, was one of three players who made their first-team debuts for Whitecaps FC on Wednesday as Robinson went with a youth-heavy lineup.
Goalkeeper Paolo Tornaghi, 27, was the only starter over the age of 25.
Unfortunately, the result was a 2-0 defeat to Ottawa Fury FC.
“The club model is we want to develop young players, without losing the fact that the game is about winning games of football,” Robinson told reporters. “It’s about finding the balance of development, giving chances, and winning. We didn’t get that right today. It’s great for the guys to make their debuts, but it’s back to the drawing board for next week.”
Davies said getting into Wednesday’s match was a “great experience.” He said he felt confident, had a few good first-touches, and perhaps more importantly, learned some valuable lessons.
“If you make a mistake, don’t dwell on it,” Davies said when asked what he learned from the experience. “Because anything can happen in the game. It happens in a snap, but you can’t dwell on it. Just get your head up and move on.”
That’s what the ‘Caps will be looking to do next Wednesday, when this two-leg Amway Canadian Championship semifinal shifts to BC Place. Robinson said there will be changes to the lineup.
“I’ve always given my young players chances,” he said. “I gave them chances today. Some took it, and some didn’t. There will be other chances for them, but next week it’s not about chances. It’s about trying to claw back the two-goal deficit.”
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