TORONTO — Alphonso Davies and Jordyn Huitema, who both made a splash after debuting for Canada in 2017, have been named Canadian U-17 soccer players of the year.
Davies, born in Ghana and raised in Edmonton, had a breakthrough year that saw him make his senior national team debut and win both the Golden Boot and Best Young Player awards with three goals in four matches at the CONCACAF Gold Cup.
Davies, who turned 17 on Nov. 2, also played in 26 games for the Vancouver Whitecaps.
“It was a breakout year for Alphonso Davies as the CONCACAF Gold Cup gave him the stage to showcase the range of his talents,” Canadian men’s coach Octavio Zambrano said in a statement. “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.”
Davies also won the award last year.
Huitema (pronounced HIGH’-tah-mah), a native of Chilliwack, B.C., made her international debut at 15 at the Algarve Women’s Cup in March and became Canada’s second-youngest goalscorer just a month after her 16th birthday when she scored a pair Costa Rica in a 6-0 home win in June.
“To score two goals in front of over 20,000 fans after just turning 16 is something that every kid dreams to do,” said Canada women’s coach John Herdman. “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.”
Huitema, who plays for Vancouver Whitecaps FC Girls REX, became the third-youngest player in women’s national team program history. She won seven senior caps in 2017.
Huitema also scored for the under-17 and under-20 teams in July, making her the first Canadian to score at three different international age groups in the same calendar year.
She finished ahead of Jayde Riviere of Markham, Ont. (Vancouver Whitecaps FC Girls Elite) and Ariel Young of Ottawa (Ottawa Fury FC Girls Elite)in the award voting.
Davies finished ahead of runners up Jordan Faria of Brampton, Ont. (Toronto FC Academy) and Julian Dunn-Johnson of Richmond Hill, Ont. (Toronto FC II).
CANADIAN U-17 PLAYERS OF THE YEAR
2017 – Alphonso Davies & Jordyn Huitema
2016 – Alphonso Davies & Deanne Rose
2015 – Kadin Chung & Kennedy Faulknor
2014 – Ballou Tabla & Jessie Fleming
2013 – Marco Carducci & Sura Yekka
2012 – Marco Carducci & Ashley Lawrence
2011 – Bryce Alderson & Ashley Lawrence
2010 – Bryce Alderson & Diamond Simpson
2009 – Russell Teibert & Abigail Raymer
2008 – Russell Teibert & Monica Lam-Feist
2007 – Olivier Lacoste-Lebuis & Monica Lam-Feist
The Canadian Press