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MLS All-Star game a big deal for league's young standouts
Teens hold their own against Juventus
 
Published Wednesday, August 1, 2018 11:08 pm
by Ashley Mahoney | The Charlotte Post

PHOTO | TROY HULL
Tyler Adams, 19, in center, started his first MLS All-Star game Wednesday against Juventus.

ATLANTA—Atlanta’s first Major League Soccer All-Star game made history for three teenagers.

Tyler Adams (19, New York Red Bulls), Alphonso Davies (17, Vancouver Whitecaps) and Ezequiel Barco (19, Atlanta United) earned their first All-Star appearances in front of 72,317 fans—the second-highest attended showcase in history. While the MLS side lost 5-3 on penalties to Italian club Juventus, the experience is intact.

“It was an unbelievable experience, to say the least,” Adams said. “Especially going against a quality side like Juventus. To step on the field with other guys who deserve to be here, it’s a really, really cool opportunity—especially being a young player.”

While both Davies and Adams each have six caps for their national teams—Canada and the United States respectively—Davies produced three goals for the Canadians. He became a Canadian citizen on June 6, 2017, just before the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup, where Davies became the youngest player to score twice in a match for a national team, and the first player born after 2000 to score in such.

“As a footballer, you want to play at the highest level that you can,” Davies said. “Doing it at a young age just helps me develop in the future.”

Davies’ trajectory is taking him away from MLS and the Whitecaps, as the Ghana native heads to Bundesliga’s Bayern Munich on Jan. 1 on a contract that will keep him in Germany through 2023. His $13 million transfer fee is the highest in MLS history.

Davies’ journey continues to move quickly, as he joined the Whitecaps F.C. Residency in 2015, and signed his first professional contract at age 16 with WFC2 a year later. Within five months, he signed with the first team on July 15, 2016 and made his MLS debut the following day.

“There’s a lot of talent in MLS,” Davies said. “There’s a lot young talent—homegrown. The team has a lot of great talent in there. I think, going forward, if you give them the opportunity, they will take their opportunity.”

PHOTO | TROY HULL
Vancouver's Alphonso Davies, on right, is heading to Bayern Munich in January for an MLS-record $13 million transfer fee.

 

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