A pair of MLS Homegrown players were honored by Canada Soccer on Tuesday, as Vancouver Whitecaps midfielder Alphonso Davies and Montreal Impact winger Ballou Jean-Yves Tabla were named Canadian Men’s Player of the Year for their respective age groups.
Davies, who turned 16 last month, was named the U-17 Player of the Year, while the 17-year-old Tabla picked up the U-20 honor. Both awards were voted on by Canadian national team and club coaches.
Davies began 2016 in USL with Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2, but eventually signed an MLS contract, making 15 appearances with the first team across all competitions in his rookie year. The youngest player to ever appear in an official Whitecaps first-team match, Davies had eight appearances in MLS play and scored the goal that sent Vancouver to the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals.
A Liberia native who moved to Edmonton at a young age, Davies suited up three times for Canada in 2016, helping the U-20s to a 2-1 win at England in March before leading the U-17s to back-to-back away wins against Jamaica last month.
“It’s a great honor,” Davies said in a statement released by the Whitecaps. “My family came to Canada for a better life and I’m really happy that I can represent my country. I want to thank my mom, my dad, the Whitecaps FC coaches and organization, Pa-Modou Kah, Giles Barnes and the rest of my teammates.”
Tabla signed a Homegrown contract with Montreal in October that will begin at the start of 2017. He spent the 2016 season with FC Montreal in the USL, recording five goals and five assists in 21 appearances. The 2014 Canadian U-17 Player of the Year, Tabla took part in three camps with the U-20 national team in 2016, recording one goal and three assists in five games.
“I’m really happy and proud to have won the Player of the Year title once again,” Tabla said a statement released by Montreal. “I want to thank my teammates at the club and in the nation team for this season filled with emotions and learning experiences.”