VANCOUVER, B.C. – From hashtags like #ShootJoeCannonOutOfaCannon to #LoveYouLongTan, it’s clear that Vancouver Whitecaps fans have a sense of humor when it comes to talking up their team on Twitter.
But their latest campaign trending in Vancouver, #BigPhilMustPlay, has special meaning.
The aim for the fans involved is to get Philippe Davies, the only outfield member of the MLS squad not to play a minute this season, some time on the pitch in the club’s final match of the season against the Colorado Rapids on Saturday (7 pm ET, watch LIVE online).
“We want Phil to get his chance in the spotlight, because we know he’s talented,” Southsiders president John Knox told MLSsoccer.com by phone on Thursday evening. “We’d really like to see him get a few minutes, if not a start.”
The 20-year-old Quebec native has been with the 'Caps since 2008, spending time with the Residency program, and made his professional debut in the United Soccer Leagues in 2009.
The love goes both ways.
“I’ve known these fans for at least three years now,” Davies said. “Especially last year, when I was playing a lot [in NASL] we were very close and everything, so seeing the [Twitter campaign] is very special.”
Still, it’s been a tough year for the former U-20 Canadian international. After playing a significant role for the first team in NASL last season, he’s found himself restricted to watching from the bench or playing in reserve matches since the club joined MLS.
“I’m not going to lie about it, it’s been tough,” Davies said. “But you get older guys coming up to you, and saying ‘you did well, just wait for your chance, it will come.’”
When informed about the campaign at practice this week, interim head coach Tom Soehn wasn’t giving anything away about his possible team selection, but was positive about Davies’ attitude and work ethic.
“What you see with Phil is he’s a young kid who came out of our Residency program,” Soehn said. “They take time to develop, especially with the speed of play.”
“He likes to make a living in the middle of the park where time and space get limited, but one credit to Phil is he’s worked hard throughout the year and continued to battle and compete, kept his head high,” Soehn continued. “He’s made strides this year, so we’ll see what the last game brings.”
Martin MacMahon covers the Vancouver Whitecaps for MLSsoccer.com.