The life story of Canadian Alphonso Davies

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Alphonso Davies’ unlikely journey to lead Canada’s first World Cup campaign in nearly four decades began in a West African refugee camp, where children’s dreams of the need to survive are overshadowed.

Davies, left-back at Bayern Munich, was born in Ghana’s Buduburam refugee camp to Liberian parents who fled their country’s civil war.

A young Alphonso Davies. Photo: United Nations


His family immigrated to Canada when he was five years old, the age when many Canadian children first put on their skates and picked up a hockey stick.

The former refugee, now 22, has taken Canadian men’s football to new heights, becoming the youngest player to feature for the senior team at 16 and the first Canadian to win the men’s Champions League final.

The meteoric rise of Davies, who has pledged to donate his World Cup earnings to charity, began at an elementary school in snowy Edmonton.

Noting his exuberance, natural athleticism, and precocious ability, teachers accepted him into an after-school soccer league for inner-city kids.

“When I started playing organized football my parents, coaches and other teammates told me to keep going and that I could become something, so I started to believe in it,” Davies was quoted as saying on the Bundesliga website. “That’s what made me want to turn pro.”

Alphonso Davies (left) and family. Photo: United Nations


“dare and do”
Davies was a child prodigy. At age 14, he enrolled in the residency program of Major League Soccer’s Vancouver Whitecaps and was soon making regular appearances for the senior team.

Davies joined Bayern in 2018 for $22m, a record fee for an MLS player. His big grin and exuberant style on the pitch make him a fan favorite.

In 2020, he became the first North American player to be voted into the FIFPRO World XI by his peers.

“I think he’s experienced a lot in his life that allows him to have a threshold that’s bigger than most people to dare and do and bring his identity,” said Canada’s manager John Herdman, as Davies moved to Germany.

“He’s just playing with that smile on his face. He gets kicked on the field, he just gets back up. There is no theatrics, no rolling around.”

Davies’ brilliance was undeniable in Canada’s emphatic 4-1 win over Panama in World Cup qualifiers.

In a move watched hundreds of thousands of times on YouTube, Davies ran 80 yards down the wing, balletically kept the ball in contact, outsmarted a defender and ended the game with a flat shot to put Canada ahead.

“Alphonso’s goal was essentially a story of his life,” one user wrote in the comments below the clip. “Hard work, perseverance, dedication and never give up.”

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