Canadian soccer star Alphonso Davies has been named CONCACAF 2021 men's player of the year after helping Canada qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 1986.
CONCACAF, the soccer federation for teams from North and Central America and the Caribbean, handed out its awards for last year on Monday.
Davies, a 21-year-old from Edmonton, appeared in seven World Cup qualifying games for Canada in 2021, with the team posting a 3-0-4 record over those games. The stretch included a 4-1 win over Panama that featured a highlight-reel goal by Davies.
Davies came out of nowhere down the right flank to pilfer the ball from under the feet of defender Harold Cummings, who thought the ball was about to go out.
The speedy fullback got to the ball before it did, danced around defender Fidel Escobar and — using teammate Jonathan David as a decoy — fired a low shot that left goalkeeper Luis Mejia rooted to the spot for a 2-1 lead.
Canada followed the Panama victory with a pair of huge November wins in Edmonton — 1-0 over Costa Rica and 2-1 over Mexico — that moved Canada to the top of the regional qualifying table.
Davies missed Canada's six qualifying games in 2022 after being sidelined due to symptoms of myocarditis -- a mild heart condition -- following a bout of COVID-19. Canada went 4-2-0 over those games to book its ticket for the World Cup, which kicks off November in Qatar.
While not on the pitch for those qualifying-clinching games, Davies made his presence felt by enthusiastically cheering on his teammates on his Twitch channel.
Davies recently returned to training with Bayern and said he expects to return to action soon.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 4, 2022.
The Canadian Press