Vancouver Whitecaps fans have been a fantastic follow on Twitter this year. Some great opinions and a lot of humour out there.
I think the hashtag use is also right up there with the best. There’s been #shootjoecannonoutofacannon, to back AFTN’s proposed marketing campaign to do just that, #supportthefuture to back the Residency and U18 guys and #FOTS to tell Tommy Soehn where to go.
As we reported on Wednesday, this week saved one of most personal, and prolific, till last – #BigPhilMustPlay.
The campaign to give the Whitecaps young Canadian prospect, Philippe Davies, some much deserved gametime before this season was out.
Despite impressing in NASL last season, and with the Residency squad this season, Davies has remained the only outfield member of the Whitecaps MLS squad to see no action with the first team.
With the campaign garnering a lot of steam with Whitecaps fans, and local media outlets also picking up on the story, many of us fully expected to see Phil take to the BC Place turf this afternoon.
Despite the campaign, and the fact that Phil was dragged all the way to Dallas to sit on the bench last week, Tommy Soehn inexplicably left Phil out of the gameday eighteen completely.
It was a final kick in the teeth for the promising Cap, and many fans also felt it as a personal snub to them.
With disappointment all round, AFTN caught up with Phil after the Colorado game today and started by asking him how he’d found this year, on a personal level:
“All year it’s been a tough year for me. I never shyed away from it. I take with a smile, because that’s my personality, but deep down inside I know it’s been a rough year.”
The fans were fully behind Phil playing today and were clearly disappointed when they found out that he wasn’t going to be. With the publicity that the Twitter campaign generated, did he expect to be in the gameday eighteen this afternoon, especially after being on the bench last week?
“It’s tough, because all year I’ve been on and off on the bench. The coaches make decisions and there’s nothing you can say about it.”
What did the Twitter campaign mean to him. Did it mean a lot to know the fans were behind you all the way?
“Yeah. It was a bright spot of my season, that’s for sure. I was really happy with that. I want to tell all the supporters, thanks you guys.
I had a good relationship with them last year, cos they were awesome, and even this year they’ve kept supporting me. There’s nothing more I can ask for from them.”
With his performances in D2 last season, and his stand out displays and leadership shown with the Residency team in the PDL this season, what more does he personally think that he needs to do to break into the first team reckoning?
“For me, I think it’s more physically than technically. I’ve always been a technical player, but it’s more physically I need to get a bit more muscles on me to play in this league. I know that.
With this attack, I need to have more energy and all that stuff. At this point, I know I can play in this league but it’s getting my chance. It didn’t happen this year, so…”
Does he hope to be with Vancouver next season?
“It’s…it’s a tough question. I’m young. I need to play. If it’s not here, it’s going to be somewhere else.”
And as a Quebec lad, would Montreal interest him?
“It would be awesome to play at home, I won’t lie about it. But even with that, if I go to Montreal, it’s maybe going to be the same, because they will want to win right away.
They might not take the time to develop players, like what we did this year. So maybe it would be better for me to just go somewhere else and be a starter somewhere.”
Well, we at AFTN, and a lot of Whitecaps fans that have seen Philippe come through the ranks hope that he does have a future with Vancouver under Martin Rennie.
It would be sad to see him move on, but he has to do what is best for his career and staying on the edges of everything here again next season cannot be an option for a young player with the talent that he has.
We hope it doesn’t come to that, but whatever happens and wherever the future may take him, we’ll be supporting him all the way.