Jonathan David named Canadian men’s player of the year for 2019

Things keep getting better and better for Jonathan David in 2019.

Canada Soccer on Wednesday announced David as the winner of the Canadian men’s player of the year, as he finished ahead of fellow teenager Alphonso Davies (Bayern Munich) and Scott Arfield (Glasgow Rangers) in voting by Canadian media and coaches. Jonathan Osorio (Toronto FC) and Mark-Anthony Kaye (Los Angeles FC) finished fourth and fifth in the balloting.

At 19, David, who plays for Belgian club Gent, is the second-youngest ever winner of the men’s award – Alphonso Davies was 18 when he claimed the honour for the first time last year.

“Jonathan David is a great role model for young players because humility and talent is always a great combination,” Canadian coach John Herdman said in a news release.

“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.”

When you look at the incredible form David is in, it’s difficult to think of another player who means as much to the Canadian team at the moment.

A forward with speed and intelligent movement off the ball, David enjoyed a breakout 2019 by scoring eight goals in nine appearances for Canada. Six of those goals came at this summer’s Concacaf Gold Cup (a new team record) where he finished as the tournament’s top scorer and was named to the Gold Cup all-star team.

David’s eight goals in 2019 set a new team record. Fellow striker Lucas Cavallini tied the mark later in the year.

In total, David has 12 caps since making his debut for Canada in 2018, scoring 11 goals and adding five assists. It’s only a matter of time before the Ottawa native eclipses Dwayne De Rosario as Canada’s all-time leading scorer – De Rosario scored 22 goals in 81 appearances from 1998 to 2015.

At the club level, David scored 20 goals and tallied 12 assists for Gent in the first 11 months of the year across all competitions, as he played a starring role in helping the Belgian side advance to the knockout round of the UEFA Europa League.

According to Canada Soccer, David’s 28 goals for club and country in 2019 rank as the highest output by a Canadian player in a single year since Tomasz Radzinski scored 27 in 1999. In the last 20 years, only five Canadians have scored 20 or more goals in a calendar year: Radzinski (24 goals in 2000), Simeon Jackson (23 goals in 2009), Olivier Occean (20 goals in 2011), De Rosario (20 goals in 2011) and Cyle Larin (22 goals in 2015).

Canada has never been flush with prolific goal-scorers or dynamic game-changers. Instead, the team’s historical strength has been an assembly line of talented goalkeepers, steady defenders and hard-working midfielders. David has broken through as one of Canada’s most dangerous players in quite some time.

Since earning his first cap last September, David has been on a tear, terrorizing opposing defenders with his quickness, deft touch and, most important, his ruthlessness in front of goal. He shows great composure for such a young star, and plays with a sense of fearlessness and confidence that belies his age and inexperience.

David is the exactly the type of player that Canada has long needed – a legitimate goal threat who appears capable of scoring every time he gets the ball.

The Canadian men’s player of the year award was first handed out in 1993, with the inaugural award going to Alex Bunbury. Other winners over the years have included De Rosario, Paul Stalteri, Jason de Vos, Craig Forrest, Atiba Hutchinson and Julian de Guzman.

Earlier this week, Jayden Nelson and Olivia Smith won the Canadian Youth International Players of the Year honours. Canada Soccer will announce its women’s player of the year winner on Thursday.

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