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

VIDEO: Giants wrap southern swing with 6-4 win in Spokane

The Langley-based hockey team defeated the Chiefs Friday night.

Charges upgraded against mother of murdered Langley girl

Kerryann Lewis now faces first- rather than second-degree murder in the death of Aaliyah Rosa.

WATCH: Farm Country Brewing in Langley City expected to open in summer

Farm Country Brewing is currently under construction and is planned to open in summer 2019.

LETTER: Langley letter writer takes jabs at mayor’s jersey choice

A sports fan chides Langley City’s mayor for sporting an Oilers jersey in Canucks country.

LETTER: Local Liberal MP challenges letter writer’s facts on immigration

The local MP makes the distinction between asylum seekers, immigrants and refugees.

Self serve doggy-wash poised to change dog grooming industry

Add money, start spraying to wash dog in the K9000

UPDATE: B.C. woman and boy, 6, found safe, RCMP confirm

Roseanne Supernault says both she and her six-year-old nephew are fine and she has contacted police

PHOTOS: Women’s Marches take to the streets across B.C. and beyond

Women and allies marched worldwide protesting violence against women, calling for equality

Anxiety in Alaska as endless aftershocks rattle residents

Seismologists expect the temblors to continue for months, although the frequency has lessened

Women’s March returns across the U.S. amid shutdown and controversy

The original march in 2017, the day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, drew hundreds of thousands of people

Federal Liberals announce former B.C. MLA as new candidate in byelection

Richard Lee will face off against federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh

No winning ticket in $10 million Lotto Max jackpot

No win in Friday night’s draw means the next Lotto Max draw will be approximately $17 million

Scientists ID another possible threat to orcas: pink salmon

For two decades, significantly more of the whales have died in even-numbered years than in odd years

Burnaby byelection turmoil sparks debate about identity issues in politics

The Liberals still have not said whether they plan to replace Wang, who stepped aside Wednesday

Most Read