Whitecaps FC midfielder Philippe Davies
Bob Frid

Homegrown Davies gets his shot with Whitecaps FC

When Philippe Davies signed on to be a part of the inaugural Vancouver Whitecaps FC Residency squad in 2007, he had a goal of one day making it to the first team and playing in a top professional soccer league.

He no doubt had visions of playing in front of sold-out crowds of 20,000 people cheering him on as he raced down the wing and sent in one of his pinpoint crosses. Those visions will soon become reality.

“It’s amazing, you know; it’s a dream that I had and I did it,” Davies said by phone on Tuesday. “I’m thankful to the club and I’m ready for next year.”

Last week, Davies became Vancouver’s first homegrown player signing, and the first-ever Canadian on the team. He’s come a long way since he first decided to enter the Residency program as a bright-eyed 16-year-old boy, a decision that is now paying off.

“There were other options, but you make your own future,” he said. “A couple years ago I don’t think I could think of this.”

Davies performed well for the Residency team right from the start, helping them reach the national semifinals in their initial PDL season. His performance, however, did not immediately warrant a call-up to the first team. He watched as several of his other young teammates received opportunities, waiting patiently for a chance of his own.

“I was proud of them,” he said. “I’ve been playing with these guys for so long and I was happy for them. But at the same time, I was thinking that I need to get there, and that just really gave me a lot of motivation.”

Last season he received that chance, and proved that it was well deserved. The 19-year-old midfielder appeared in 32 matches, starting 26 of them. He displayed his deadly accurate crossing ability throughout the season, consistently delivering dangerous balls into the goalmouth.

“This season was a breakout season for me,” said Davies. “It came out of the blue.”

Davies doesn’t hesitate to attribute his success to the fine coaching he received in the Residency program. He feels that the lessons he learnt on becoming a professional are invaluable.

“It says that we have good coaches really focusing on developing players, and that’s huge because that’s what you need,” Davies said. “It’s not just the way you carry yourself on the field, but especially off the field. You’ve got to take care of your body; it’s a tough game, and you’ve got to make sure that every day you’re doing the right things."

The native of Longueuil, Quebec, is well aware that the learning curve is far from complete. He’s keen to step up to the next level and continue his ascent up the soccer ladder.

“I really want to learn from the older guys and have them teach me some things,” he said. “I really want to work hard and get into the team. It’s going to be a big year for the team and this city.”