More than 120 young fans lined up in Langley for a chance at getting an autograph and picture with socccer star Alphonso Davies of the Vancouver Whitecaps. (Black Press Media files)

Alphonso Davies transfer shows league is on the rise: MLS commissioner

Don Garber met Davies during the recent bid for the 2026 World Cup

A blockbuster deal involving the teenage star of the Vancouver Whitecaps is one of the great stories in world soccer, says the league’s commissioner.

Don Garber said Alphonso Davies’ record-breaking transfer also shows the strength of the league.

The Whitecaps signed a US$22-million transfer deal in July that will see the 17-year-old Canadian midfielder play for German soccer giant Bayern Munich next year.

“Having a kid that’s getting a record transfer fee associated with him being developed in Major League Soccer has the rest of the world looking and saying the league is on the rise, getting the game right and needs to be taken seriously,” Garber said in Vancouver Friday, where he spoke with media and toured the Whitecaps training facility.

“It says a lot about the (Whitecaps’) ambition, it says a lot about the potential for developing players here in Canada and it says a lot about Alphonso Davies.”

Garber met Davies during the recent bid for the 2026 World Cup when the young man spoke to FIFA members on behalf of Canada Soccer. Their paths crossed again at the MLS all-star game in August, where Davies was the commissioner’s pick.

“He’s just a wonderful young man,” Garber said. “I’m really happy for him, pleased for his family and happy for the Whitecaps.”

The transfer — the biggest ever in the league’s history — is both a blessing and a curse, Garber said, because it stokes further interest from international clubs in talented young athletes developed by MLS teams.

The league is also growing, adding teams in Cincinnati, Miami and Nashville over the next two years, increasing competition for star players at home, too.

Garber said the MLS’ biggest challenge at the moment is managing growth as it moves from 23 to 26 clubs.

“It used to be sort of figuring out how we could be viable,” he said. “And now it’s, with all the momentum that we have, how do we make sure we’re making the right decisions?”

Decisions have to be made about whether resources should be invested in player development, marketing, facilities or other areas, he added.

One thing that won’t change as the league grows, Garber said, is the high-quality of soccer on the field.

Anyone concerned about a lack of available talent should know that clubs continue to access a global pool of players as they groom their own young stars, the commissioner said.

Even the league’s three Canadian teams are spending tens of millions of dollars to develop talent and that’s affecting the national soccer program, he added.

Last weekend, the Canadian men’s team trounced the U.S. Virgin Islands 8-0 in a CONCACAF Nations League qualifier.

Davies is one of four Whitecaps players on the national squad.

“People that love the game here should be thinking about what positive impact that’s had on the Canadian national team,” Garber said. ”So I think the future is bright for soccer in Canada.”

Gemma Karstens-Smith, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Opioid overdoses killing three people a month in Chilliwack

35 deaths in 2018 locally compare to 23 in 2017, 13 in 2016 up from about five per year before that

Agassiz break and enter suspect arrested

The Chilliwack man faces charges relating to break and enters throughout Agassiz

Outdoor rink, lagoon improvements on the agenda for Harrison

The projects are intended to increase tourism numbers and infrastructure in the resort village

Chilliwack parent urges fellow dog owners to keep Fido off school grounds

Risks of harmful encounters between kids on and dogs are too high, says Chilliwack mom

Coquihalla closed southbound near Hope

DriveBC suggests detouring via Highway 1

VIDEO: Canada’s flag turns 54 today

The maple leaf design by George Stanley made its first appearance Feb. 15, 1965

Former B.C. premier Gordon Campbell accused of sexual touching

Accuser went to police, interviewed by Britian’s Daily Telegraph

Avalanche control planned tomorrow on Highway 1

The highway will be closed in the morning east of Revelstoke

Judge rules Abbotsford home must be sold after son tries to evict mom

Mom to get back down payment and initial expenses

Mayors approve SkyTrain extension to UBC

Next step is a business plan and public consultation

Trump officially declares national emergency to build border wall

President plans to siphon billions from federal military construction and counterdrug efforts

Snow turns to slush, rain as it warms up across B.C.’s south coast

Some areas are already covered by more than half a metre of snow following three separate storms

Father to be charged with first-degree murder in Amber Alert case

11-year-old Riya Rajkumar was found dead in her father’s home in Brampton, Ontario

Police track armed kidnapping across Thompson-Okanagan

RCMP allege it was a targeted crime believed to be linked to the drug trade

Most Read