It has been a great few years for Canadian football. The national team has qualified for their first FIFA World Cup since 1986. Several of the players are thriving in Europe. Canada looks set to make a big splash at Qatar 2022 with its golden generation. One of the leading lights from this group has been Jonathan David.
The Lille striker is a goal scoring phenom who helped Les Dogues win the Ligue 1 title in 2020-21. David is attracting attention from the top European clubs with a transfer on the horizon.
Canada is sure to reach greater heights with David leading the way for years to come. FootTheBall presents the top facts regarding the exciting talent.
A three-country childhood
Jonathan David certainly traveled during his childhood. He was born in New York, when his family was visiting relatives. Therefore, David holds US citizenship in this manner. However, the family moved to Port-au-Prince, Haiti when he was six months old. They were once again on the move when Davis turned six.
This time, it was to Ottawa where David would begin his education and future life. The experiences he had by living across all three countries, especially Haiti, would shape his understanding of the world.
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Football began in Haiti and school
Jonathan David enrolled at Louis Riel, where he really got the taste of football in Canada. David was always to be found with the ball at his feet, continuing from his days in Haiti. This is not to say that he was a bad student, not at all. In Hither rejected a contract with Vancouver Whitecaps because she wanted David to focus on studies. However, the support for football was always there alongside the studies.
No to MLS
One of the anecdotes often brought up when talking about Jonathan David. The young striker was determined to make his name in Europe. David played for Gloucester Dragons and Ottawa Gloucester Hornets till 2015. He joined the Ottawa Internationals after that before moving to Gent in 2018. During this whole period, numerous peers left to join MLS clubs or academies. However, David stuck to his belief of only playing abroad, the land whose matches he had seen growing up.
Influence of El-Magraby
Every idealistic student needs a teacher. For Jonathan David, that person was Hanny El-Magraby, whom he met at Ottawa Gloucester. El-Magraby would become the most important mentor for David during this phase of his career. Described as a father figure, El-Magraby was the one who reinforced the idea of playing in Europe.
Moreover, he would make videos for each player so they would be able to show that at any trial club and even learn. El-Magraby wanted David to succeed across all the fields, not only as a footballer but also as a human being.
Failure comes before success
Hard work never goes unnoticed and it proved true in the case of Jonathan David. His impressive performances were being noticed in Europe. David was offered trials at RB Salzburg, Stuttgart, and Gent. However, his audition at the first two clubs did not go too hot. David was rejected by both Salzburg and Stuttgart before eventually being signed by Gent. That was his first breakthrough in Europe and things would only go upwards.
They say God gives his hardest battles to his strongest soldiers, so this is not the end, only a new beginning.
To everyone who sent messages, even those I didn't get to answer, I truly appreciate each gesture.
— Jonathan David (@itsJoDavid) December 23, 2019
Thierry Henry as an idol
Jonathan David has always looked up to the top European strikers of his time. Didier Drogba, and Samuel Eto’o were all in the mix but who is his favourite? “Thierry Henry, the way he drops off, dribbles with the ball, and takes on players.
Watching the little details of his game is something you can take and put into your game,” David told ONEFOOTBALL. He has modelled his game by watching their game,and was how they move and finish. That has enabled him to pick up the subtleties of the greats’ game.
— afcstuff (@afcstuff) December 29, 2021
Fashionable off the pitch
Like most young footballers, David loves the finer side of things off the pitch. He has partnered with ‘Fly Nowhere,’ a company creating branded assets in collaboration with sports personalities among others. David has professed a loverHenry-themed for designer clothes and his collaboration with Fly Nowhere is due to the uniqueness of the product. He has always understood that being a footballer is not everything in life with personal ventures important too.
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The Iceman on the prowl
The nickname was given to David by his national team manager John Herdman. Speaking on how he is so cool in front of goal, “He’s able to slow it right down in the box, wait for the keeper to sit down, and pick his moments. That’s a real special quality in a striker.” David has been praised for being patient and not rushing to score. That is a big positive in his game as he continues to develop over the years.
A silent assassin
Like much of his personality, David does not like to be in the headlines too much. He is always focused on being the team player. As David himself put it, “I don’t go looking for the limelight. I don’t go on social media. I stay focused on my career, my family, my friends. But I still aspire to become one of the best forwards in the world.” That kind of desire through hard work and grit will bear fruition in a lot of spectacular ways.
Giving back to society
The most important aspect of Jonathan David as a person is how he thinks of others less fortunate than him. He has spoken many times of helping the country he grew up in as a child. “Haiti is where I’m from, where I grew up. So obviously something I want to do is to help them. It’s only the beginning, but I’m working on different things that I can do,” said David.
Last post before #ChampionsLeague 🇭🇹 Please help us raise awareness for @TSFHI @Sannehfdn any small amount helps (link bio.) Hope you like my collection with @unionlosangeles 🇭🇹🇺🇸🇨🇦🇫🇷🇧🇪 out now pic.twitter.com/lcx4KeL9OC
— Jonathan David (@itsJoDavid) March 13, 2022
Moreover, he has also teamed up with former USMNT player Tony Sanneh to provide 300 young footballers in Port-au-Prince with training, meals and accommodation. David is determined to make sure that the life he has gotten can be used to help out those around him as being a human being is more important than just being a footballer.