As Alphonso Davies' dream continues, Thomas Hasal, Vancouver Whitecaps academy peers remain amazed

Alphonso Davies - Thomas Hasal - split image

By any objective measure, Vancouver Whitecaps goalkeeper Thomas Hasal is ahead of schedule. 

Having entered the MLS season third on coach Marc Dos Santos' depth chart, Hasal took his chance at the MLS is Back Tournament and run with it, helping the Whitecaps earn an unlikely knockout round berth and come within penalty kicks of a quarterfinal place. And with Maxime Crepeau still out injured, the 21-year-old has remained in the XI ahead of Bryan Meredith as the MLS season resumed last week, although an overmatched Whitecaps side fell twice to defending Eastern Conference champions Toronto FC.

All of that just might make the success of his former academy peer Alphonso Davies even more bewildering. For as much as Hasal is still the young guy among his professional peers, he's still 16 months older than Davies, the former Vancouver prodigy who just completed a treble-winning campaign with Bayern Munich as the starting left back in a 1-0 UEFA Champions League Final victory over Paris St. Germain.

"It’s insane," Hasal said of Davies during a conference call on Monday. "Coming up through the academy. Going to the same school. And just seeing him doing the things he’s done. It seems like every step he takes is a massive one and he just keeps going. He doesn’t stop. Honestly, you say the sky’s the limit for him, but you’d think this was the limit? But we’ll see so much more from him."

Age isn't quite an apples-to-apples comparison between field players and goalkeepers, who must often wait longer for a breakthrough and then can enjoy a longer career once they get there. But the immediacy of a story like Davies' is certainly helpful for anyone trying to embrace the notion of seizing the chances you're given.

From the moment he first made his pro debut as a 15-year-old, Davies was always labeled as a player with the potential to take those chances. That he actually has at every step more reason for Hasal and others to believe they can do the same on their own path.

"I think seeing players like that do things like that, it definitely motivates us," the 'keeper said. "It shows that it’s possible, and that when the right opportunity presents itself, you can do it as well. Because he was someone who is in a similar position to us.

"I’d say our own training, our own hard work does that, but it definitely motivates us to keep pushing and keep pursuing our dreams."

Hasal has done his part, saving 25 of the 29 shots on target he's faced in all competitions since he first replaced Crepeau as a second-half substitute against the Seattle Sounders on July 19.

But when he's not eyeing his own journey, he's trying to share in the joy of his former colleague.

"It’s been amazing for all of us," Hasal said of watching Davies' ascent into a Bayern treble winner and Bundesliga rookie of the year. "The guys on the technical staff who have been with him. The guys in the back-room staff who have been with him. Everyone that’s at the whole club, from the academy players to the first team players, who were there when he stepped up. We’re obviously all so happy for him, and honestly impressed to just see him keep going. And we wish him the best of luck."