The story of Alphonso Davies
By Mo Hussain, Sports Reporter
In August, German powerhouse Bayern Munich won their sixth UEFA Champions League title. Among the members of that winning team was Canadian soccer superstar Alphonso Davies who, just a couple years prior, was playing for the Vancouver Whitecaps reserve team while attending Burnaby Central High School.
“It’s everything you dream of as a kid. You know, growing up in cold Edmonton, then coming to Europe, and winning a championship with a great club like Bayern is everything you can ask for,” said Davies in a post-game interview with BT Sport after winning the championship.
The 19-year-old’s mercurial rise in the soccer world as one of the best defenders in the sport is unprecedented given how difficult it is to get to that level.
However, at one point his story did look as bright as it right now. Davies was born on November 2, 2000 in a Ghanian refugee camp after his parents had escaped war-torn Liberia. “It was safe to live there but it was hard to live there. Because [for] everything you have to spend money. Water, food, whatever you think of, you have to buy it,” said Davies’ father, Debeah, about the refugee camp. When Alphonso was just five years old, Debeah and the rest of his family decided to immigrate to Canada, and settled in Edmonton, Alberta.
It was there where Davies started to develop and began playing soccer for the Edmonton Strikers soccer club. Nick Huoseh, Davies’ coach with the Strikers, said Davies was maturing very quickly: “At 10 years old, Alphonso was babysitting his brother and sister. He was changing their diapers; he was with them alone at home just because his parents were working shift work. He had to mature really quickly because there was a lot of responsibility on his shoulders.”
As he began to grow, he later joined the St. Nicholas Junior High soccer club. “He’s very humble, he always wants to improve and always wants to get better. He’s very respectful and he’s a very nice kid. You know people fall in love with Alphonso’s infectious attitude off the field,” said his former coach at St. Nicholas and teacher Marco Bossio.
Soon after, Davies was offered a spot with the Whitecaps FC Residency where he quickly began to rise up the ranks through the program and onto the Whitecaps reserve team (Whitecaps FC 2), and then onto the Vancouver Whitecaps Major League Soccer (MLS) team a couple of months after. It was on the Whitecaps where Davies went on to become an MLS all-star, Vancouver Whitecaps FC player of the year in 2018, and was also recognized on the international level, winning back-to-back Canada U-17 male player of the year awards. Davies did all of this before reaching the age of 18.
Teams from across the world had their sights set on acquiring Davies. Ultimately, it was Bundesliga powerhouse FC Bayern Munich that ended up acquiring him after the Whitecaps accepted their multi-million-dollar offer. “Being able to sign with a club (like) Bayern Munich is exciting stuff. You dream about stuff like this as a kid,” said Davies when talking to the media in 2018.
Davies has become a household name in the soccer world, and after just his second season, many would argue that he is already the best left-back in the game. Following winning European soccer’s most prized possession at such a young age, it will be interesting to see how much more Davies can accomplish in the coming years.