Ottawa born-and-raised Jonathan David makes hot start to soccer career in Belgium

Alphonso Davies has been the young Canadian soccer star with all the buzz since signing for Bayern Munich for an MLS record transfer fee of $13.5 million USD, which can possibly balloon to $22 million USD. Davies will head over to Germany in January after he finishes the current MLS season with the Vancouver Whitecaps, but there is another young Canadian soccer star already scoring goals in Europe, who happens to be Ottawa born-and-raised. His name is Jonathan David.

David plays for KAA Gent in Belgium’s first division. The 18-year-old Canadian striker signed a professional contract with Gent back in January 2018 and made his professional debut a couple of weeks ago against Zulte Waregem in the Jupiler Pro League.

In his debut, David scored a crucial goal in the 90th minute to earn his team a draw. Since then, he has not stopped scoring. In each of Gent’s subsequent three matches, David has featured as an impact substitute and scored four times, including two goals against Waasland-Beveren and a winning goal in Gent’s UEFA Europa League first leg qualifier against Jagiollonia Bialystok

So far in a total of 66 minutes played in his professional career, he has scored five goals. A great goals per minute ratio to start his career.

Before moving to Europe, David showed his talent in Ottawa at local youth soccer clubs Ottawa Gloucester Hornets and Ottawa Internationals S.C. He has already represented Canada at the U-17 and U-23 levels and may be destined for a full Canadian men’s national team call-up when Canada faces the U.S. Virgin Islands on September 9, 2018.

David is one to keep an eye on amongst the young Canadian contingent making a name for themselves on the other side of the Atlantic. Others include Cyle Larin at Besiktas, Sam Adekugbe at Vålerenga, Kris Twardek at Sligo Rovers, Liam Millar at Liverpool F.C. academy and Davies when he arrives at Bayern Munich at the turn of the year. 

Though Gent is not at the same level as Bayern Munich, they are one of Belgium’s best clubs and regularly compete in the Europa League (a continent-wide club competition). Often the worry for developing players is playing time, which can be hard to come by while at Europe’s top clubs. David should continue to see plenty of on-field opportunities with Gent this season and beyond, especially if he keeps scoring goals.

He is quickly becoming a fan favourite as the Gent fans chant the Ottawa native’s name at the Ghelamco Arena, but he remains humble despite his early success.

“I just try to work hard and do my best,” said David in a KAA Gent video after scoring twice.

He made sure to give credit to his teammates for his goals as well.

“The goals were given to me.

“I just had to tap [them] in.”

David and his cohort are lesser known to the Canadian public compared to other young athletes in hockey, tennis or basketball, but David’s name has been well-known by those who follow the beautiful game closely. Hopefully, with his early success and Davies’ move to Bayern Munich, he and other Canadian soccer players can begin to gain support from the Canadian public as well.

Gent and David play next on Sunday, August 19, at 2:00 PM EST against AS Eupen.