Alphonso Davies’s collection of journals would make a fascinating read if he has one. At 19, he is the face of Canadian football, and he is also a treble winner at a tender age.
Davies was born in Buduburam, a Ghanaian refugee camp, after his parents had fled the civil war in Liberia. They were faced with the difficulties in the search for clean water, shelter, simply staying alive.
“It was hard to live because the only way you survive sometimes is you have to carry guns,” remembers Alphonso’s father, Debeah. “We didn’t have any interest in shooting guns. So, we decided to just escape from there. They have a program called resettlement, and they said ‘OK, you have to fill in a form for Canada.’ We went through the interview and everything, and made it, and came over here.”
Davies’s family were able to immigrate to Canada when he was five, eventually settling in Edmonton, Alberta. He attended the Mother Theresa Catholic school, where his talents first caught the eye.
Shortly after joining St. Nicholas, Davies met Chernoh Fahnbulleh, who is originally from Liberia but immigrated to Canada in 2008. The pair were inseparable and are still good friends to this very day.
“He spoke English but it was, like, broken English,” Fahnbulleh told the Star Edmonton. “We were all in the same drama class, so then for the drama thing, we all get in a group and then we act out something or read a book together. His coach would help him out a lot, too, they would always go to a whole bunch of places, and the coach would introduce him to other people … everybody in the soccer community already knew Alphonso, anyway.”
Davies initially didn’t have the thoughts of playing Professional football. “To be honest, I was just trying to play for fun, to keep myself active and keep myself out of trouble,” he said. “I didn’t think I was really good, I was just playing the game because I enjoyed playing it with my friends. Then once I started playing organized soccer, parents, coaches and other teammates were telling me to keep going and that I could become something so I started believing it. That’s what started me wanting to become a professional. That’s when I started training hard to become a professional.”
By the age of 14, he was enrolled in the Vancouver Whitecaps’ residency program. His progress was rapid, becoming the youngest player to appear in the United Soccer League, he made history as the first player born in the 2000s to play in the MLS. He was just 15 years, eight months, and 15 days old.
“When he came in, we knew that he was a prospect for sure,” said Whitecaps president Bob Lenarduzzi.
After he made his debut at 15, generation talent, Davies was soon on the national team’s radar. He had already represented the country at U17 and U20 level, he made his debut for the Canadian National team in June 2017.
“That was a great moment for the family,” Davies said. “I’m glad I could get it. It’s going to mean a lot, representing the country I’ve lived in for most of my life. Having that [Canadian] crest on my chest playing for them is going to mean a lot for me.”
At 16, Davies became Canada’s youngest ever goalscorer and the youngest to score at a Gold Cup with his brace against French Guiana, as well as the first player born in the 21st century to score at a major international tournament.
Before he agreed to join Bayern for an MLS record fee in July 2018, Davies spoke at a FIFA Congress on behalf of North America’s ‘United bid’ to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup. He explained how Canada had welcomed him and his family as they sought refuge from Liberia’s bloody civil war; a journey that took him from a refugee camp in Ghana, via Edmonton, to a career in professional soccer. The impact of his words was undeniable.
Injuries to defenders Niklas Sule and Lucas Hernandez in the early weeks of 2019/20 saw left-back David Alaba shifted into the middle of the Bayern defense, and a gap open up in his position. Niko Kovacic gave Davies the nod to play at the left-back position.
One of Niko Kovac’s final actions as head coach was to find out. Although he was sacked within a fortnight of that decision.
Assistant Hans Flick took up the role after Kovac was sacked and kept Davies in the side. Davies has became a key player for Flick and moved from hot-shot Canadian youngster to one of the world’s brightest talents in a few short months.
At 19, Davies became the first Canadian player to win the UEFA champions league. No doubt, Alphonso Davies was destined for greatness.