Alphonso Davies in the spotlight ahead of Canada’s World Cup qualifiers in Edmonton

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When asked about his favorite football memory, growing up in his hometown of Edmonton, Alphonso Davies smiled. “Just being a kid, playing football with my friends … And now I’m playing here with the national team in my hometown,” he said.

When asked about his favorite football memory, growing up in his hometown of Edmonton, Alphonso Davies smiled.

“Just being a kid, playing football with my friends … And now I’m playing here with the national team in my hometown,” he said. “It will just feel like I’m back on the pitch with the Edmonton Strikers and just having fun with some friends.”

He is about to do it again, this time with a gang of brothers who wear the Maple Leaf.

The star of Bayern Munich will be the main attraction when the Canadian men, currently ranked 48th in the world, number 45 Costa Rica on November 12 and number 9 Mexico in two crucial World Cup qualifiers on November 16 received Edmonton. Davies’ star power – combined with the appeal of an exciting young Canadian team under John Herdman – has already sold nearly 40,000 tickets for every game at Commonwealth Stadium.

While Herdman has a talented squad including Atiba Hutchinson, Milan Borjan, Jonathan David, Cyle Larin, Tajon Buchanan, Stephen Eustaquio and Jonathan Osorio, Davies has become the face of the program.

It’s easy to see why. A former refugee whose family has found a home in Canada, his backstory resonates.

In games, his frantic pace, drive and bag of tricks on the ball are convincing. But one can argue that he hits a bigger nerve, especially these days.

Davies’ enthusiasm and zest for life are exemplary. And although he is already a celebrity at the age of 21, he radiates to everyone.

He raves about meeting Drake when the hip-hop star came to the team hotel in Toronto after Canada’s win over Panama on October 13th to say hello, a game in which he scored a miracle goal. And his joy – captured via live stream – at winning the jackpot by acquiring Lionel Messi – extremely rare and highly valued – when he opened a player package in the FIFA video game was something to see.

When asked which one was rated higher, Davies laughed. “I don’t know. I think they both go hand in hand.”

After some thought, he decided to hang out with Drake.

“I’ve been listening to Drake since I started listening to music. Drake is one of my idols. I love all of his music.”

“My performance with Messi was playing against him (in the Champions League game),” he added on a virtual media availability. “Unfortunately I didn’t get his jersey. That would have been up there too, probably would have surpassed Drake a little more.

Davies’ appeal is well documented.

With 4.8 million followers on TikTok, 4.2 million on Instagram and 310,900 on Twitter, it has become a social media phenomenon. He can also be described as half of the Canadian football king, as he dates Canada international Jordyn Huitema, who plays her club football for Paris Saint-Germain.

Davies has not forgotten his roots and serves as the global goodwill ambassador for UNHCR, the UN refugee agency.

“He’s still got a great attitude. He’s still grounded, he doesn’t have a big head,” said Nick Huoseh, who coached him with the Edmonton Strikers.

Today, Huoseh (pronounced Ho-zee) acts as a representative for Davies in addition to his primary occupation as the owner and founder of Edmonton’s ASI Tech, which specializes in building communications systems for the oil and gas sector.

While Davies has attracted many promotional offers, Huoseh and the Davies family have been picky. Davies has a deal with Nike as well as two other companies whose products are close to his heart – EA Sports and Crocs.

Davies is an avid FIFA player and just loves wearing Crocs.

As a Bayern player, Davies also gets an Audi car. Audi owns 8.33 percent of the German champions.

And while fame and fortune have come with his footballing skills, Davies – whose contract with Bayern runs until 2025 – hardly did anything wrong.

Davies, then 16, was sent off in a September 2017 friendly against Jamaica in Toronto for being expelled from Damion Lowe after the two went down in a huddle in the corner, and apologized on social media the same day.

“I just want to apologize to @CanadaSoccerEN for my breakout on the field this morning and to the people who came to watch the game.” The tweet was accompanied by a GIF with the caption “I’m sorry”.

While Davies comes to Edmonton on business, it will be a pleasure to see family and friends again. He also admits a penchant for the West Edmonton Mall.

His family doesn’t see him play often. They had hoped to see him in Canada’s game against El Salvador in Toronto on September 8, but Davies was forced to sit out after suffering a blow to the knee in a 1-1 draw in Nashville three days earlier.

Huoseh said Davie’s mother saw him at a Bundesliga and Champions League game in 2019.

Davies hasn’t played in his hometown since joining the Edmonton Strikers before moving to Vancouver and the Whitecaps when he was 14.

He said he had only been to the Commonwealth Stadium a few times, including a brief visit to win a Gray Cup at the time.

“I was in for about five minutes and then I left because I had to go home. I don’t know how I got into the stadium because I didn’t have a ticket,” he added with a chuckle. “I think I just went to the game, just walked in and no one saw it.”

Upon returning home, he gives back and works with Canada Soccer to provide tickets to St. Nicholas Catholic Junior High School, his alma mater.

Canada (2-0-4, 10 points) is third with Davies in the octagon standings of CONCACAF behind Mexico (4-0-2, 14 points) and the USA (3-1-2, 11 points). No. 69 Panama (2-2-2, eight points) is fourth.

In March, after each of the eight teams played 14 games, the top three will qualify for Qatar 2022, while the fourth-placed will take part in an intercontinental playoff to see who will join them.

Davies has scored 10 goals and 15 assists in 28 A-games for Canada, playing both full-back and a more offensive role.

Follow @NeilMDavidson on Twitter

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on November 4, 2022

Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press


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