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

Stray cats hit by cars require $11,000 in medical care, says Abbotsford SPCA

Six injured cats have been brought to branch in last two weeks

Abbotsford Liberal candidate says policies show Trudeau apology is sincere

Seamus Heffernan said ‘error in judgment’ not representative of Prime Minister or party

‘This isn’t fun and games’: Fraser Valley academic explains why brownface is hurtful

Satwinder Bains says wearing brownface and a turban is unacceptable

Trudeau brownface photos are ‘a teaching moment,’ UFV South Asian Studies professor says

Photos are ‘unacceptable,’ but Satwinder Bains says Trudeau must demonstrate his apology was sincere

Environmental rally set for Friday in Mission

Unite Behind the Science Rally takes place Friday at 1 p.m. in front of the Mission post office

VIDEO: Trudeau asks Canada to look to current, not past, actions on race

Liberal leader says he never spoke about the racist photo because he was embarrassed

Legislature gifts, clothing, travel need better control, B.C. auditor says

Audit follows suspensions of managers by Speaker Darryl Plecas

‘Really disturbing:’ Trudeau’s racist photos worry B.C. First Nation chief

Wet’suwet’en Chief concerned the photos will sow fear in Indigenous communities

‘Unacceptable’: What politicians have to say about Trudeau in blackface

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi: ‘When I saw that picture last night, certainly it was a sucker-punch’

‘He’s trying to kill me’: Victoria police commandeer boats to reach screaming woman

No charges laid and civilians to be awarded honours after incident on Gorge Waterway

VIDEO: B.C. man accused of assaulting sex worker loses temper in interrogation

Defence lawyer says statements made by accused Curtis Sagmoen should be deemed inadmissible

John Horgan promises action after fatal mid-Island bus crash

Premier cites students, local Indigneous community as reason to repair the road

Police warn of escalating violence, weapons in Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park

Officers issue statement about high crime in the area that includes a homeless camp

Teens charged in stabbing death of B.C. man in strip mall parking lot

Two youths, aged 15 and 16, charged in Aug. 16 killing of South Surrey’s Paul Prestbakmo

Most Read