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Teenage forward Jonathan David named Canadian Player of the Year after record run
Wolfsburg's Renato Steffen, left, and Marcel Tisserand, battle for the ball with Gent's Jonathan David during the Europa League Group I soccer match between Vfl Wolfsburg and KAA Genk in Wolfsburg, Germany, Thursday, Nov. 7, 2019. Teenage forward Jonathan David, who has scored a Canadian-record 28 goals for club and country this year, has been named Canadian Player of the Year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Peter Steffen/dpa via AP
Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press
Published Wednesday, December 11, 2019 2:36PM EST
TORONTO - Teenage forward Jonathan David, who has scored a Canadian-record 28 goals for club and country this year, has been named Canadian Player of the Year.
The Canadian Soccer Association, which administers the award, says the 19-year-old from Ottawa is Canada's highest-scoring men's forward in a single year over the past 20 years.
“Jonathan David is a great role model for young players because humility and talent is always a great combination,” Canada coach John Herdman said in a statement Wednesday. “He's always made himself available to represent his country and he has delivered with performances and goals. We are proud to have Jonathan David as one of our own and pleased his hard work has received recognition.”
David, who plays his club soccer in Belgium for KAA Gent, was chosen in a vote by Canadian media and coaches. Bayern Munich teenager Alphonso Davies was second followed by Canada captain Scott Arfield (Glasgow Rangers), Jonathan Osorio (Toronto FC), Mark-Anthony Kaye (Los Angeles FC) and Milan Borjan (Red Star Belgrade).
Canada Soccer will name its female player of the year on Thursday.
Since the turn of the century, Canada Soccer says only five other Canadian men have scored 20-plus goals in a calendar year: Tomasz Radzinski (24 goals scored in 2000, 27 in 1999), Simeon Jackson (23, 2009), Olivier Occean (20, 2011), Dwayne De Rosario (20, 2011) and Cyle Larin (22, 2015).
David set a Canadian men's record with eight international goals in 2019, including a Canada record six goals at the CONCACAF Gold Cup where he was a tournament all-star and Golden Boot winner.
Fellow striker Lucas Cavallini tied the eight-goal record a month later.
In all, David has 11 goals in 12 appearances for the national team since making his debut in September 2018 in an 8-0 CONCACAF Nations League qualifying game against the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Thirty-two minutes later, he was the youngest player ever to score for the country on his debut. Another five minutes later, he was the fifth player to score twice in his first outing for Canada.
Today the teen is well on his way to catching the retired De Rosario, who holds the Canadian men's career record with 22 goals (from 81 appearances).
At the club level, David scored 20 goals and added 12 assists in the first 11 months of the year across league and cup competitions.
Born in Brooklyn, David was three months old when his family moved to Haiti and was six years old when it came north to Ottawa. He played his youth soccer with the Gloucester Hornets and Ottawa Internationals.
A trial with KAA Gent came in 2017 after a scout saw him on video. He went to Belgium twice that year, spending time with the second team before earning a full-time invitation. After finishing high school in Ottawa, he returned to Europe to focus full time on his soccer.
David has shown the ability to be in the right place at the right time. He can find a crease in the defence and, when he gets the ball, knows what to do in front of goal. He can score with both feet or his head.
David says he grew up a striker but he is comfortable playing all across the frontline. KAA Gent plays in a 4-4-2 formation with a midfield diamond which has him playing behind the two forwards.
In awards announced earlier, Jayden Nelson and Olivia Smith were named Canadian Youth International Players of the Year, Luis Rocha Canadian Futsal Player of the Year, and Samuel Charron Canadian Para Soccer Player of the Year.
Stephanie Labbe was chosen winner of the Allstate Canadian National Teams Good Hands Award.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 11, 2019.