VANCOUVER, BC – A pair of Vancouver Whitecaps FC youngsters have been named the 2017 Canadian U-17 Players of Year.
On the men’s side, Alphonso Davies took home the honours for a second straight year, while Whitecaps FC Girls Elite BC Super REX striker Jordyn Huitema was the female recipient. Huitema's Whitecaps FC teammate Jayde Riviere finished second in voting. Both awards were selected by national team coaches as well as Canadian clubs/coaches.
Davies, who turned 17 last month, is coming off his first full season in Major League Soccer. The youngster made a total of 33 appearances in all competitions for Vancouver Whitecaps FC in 2017, recording three goals and two assists.
He also scored three goals for Canada at the CONCACAF Gold Cup, earning the tournament Golden Boot and Young Player Award, after receiving his Canadian citizenship in June. This year, Davies became the youngest goalscorer in the history of the Canadian national team, CONCACAF Gold Cup, and Canadian Championship.
Davies was born in Buduburam, a refugee camp in Gomoa East District in the central region of Ghana, to Liberian parents who took refuge in Ghana after fleeing the Liberian civil war. When Davies was five years old, his family moved to Windsor, Ontario in 2006 before settling in Edmonton, Alberta, where he played with Edmonton Internazionale, Edmonton Strikers, and St. Nicholas Soccer Academy.
“It was a breakout year for Alphonso Davies as the CONCACAF Gold Cup gave him the stage to showcase the range of his talents,” said Octavio Zambrano, Canada Soccer’s men’s national team head coach. “He is a force with which to be reckoned as he is strong, he is fast, and he doesn’t flinch in front of goal. He is a player with all the tools and he has a good head on his shoulders.”
Huitema, 16, is coming off a year in which she became the first player to score for Canada’s U-17, U-20, and senior women’s national teams in the same calendar year.
The Chilliwack, B.C. native made her Canadian senior women’s national team debut in March and went on to make seven appearances, scoring two goals in a friendly against Costa Rica on June 11 to become the second youngest goalscorer in Canada women’s national team history.
At the age of 12, Huitema moved on from her local club, Chilliwack FC, to Surrey United in the BC Soccer Premier League before joining Whitecaps FC.
“To score two goals in front of 20,000 fans after just turning 16 is something that every kid dreams to do,” said John Herdman, Canada Soccer’s women’s national team head coach. “She made her dreams come true in 2017. To score at every age group is a unique achievement for a unique player. She has an exciting future, but it is underpinned by an intense work ethic and that makes this young player special.”