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Alphonso Davies: from refugee to Champions League winner

Written by Sport, Sport Features

Few people can boast a story as inspirational as Alphonso Davies’ journey to the top of professional football.

Between 1999 and 2003, more than 450,000 people were forced to flee the violence of the Second Liberian Civil War. Displaced from their homes, many Liberian refugees sought safety in the Buduburam refugee camp in Ghana. It was here, in November 2000, that Alphonso Davies was born.

In an interview for Sky Sports, Alphonso’s mother, Victoria Davies, reflected on the hardships of bringing up her children in a refugee camp.

“We were safe in Ghana, but it was hard to live there. We were always worrying. People died of hunger in the camps too, not just in the war zone”

When Alphonso was 5 years old, the Davies family were able to leave Ghana and travel to Canada, where they settled in Edmonton, Alberta.

Once in Canada, it didn’t take long for Alphonso’s talent to catch the attention of local football coach and founder of Free Footie – a free football league for inner-city youths – Tim Adams.

“I saw him make his first touch, and I knew, immediately. This kid has a gift for the game. Other kids I’ve seen have had that level of athleticism. But he had the mind. He was way more than a guy who could kick the ball into the back of the net.”

The news of Alphonso’s ability spread fast, and soon he was recruited by St. Nicholas Soccer Academy. It was here that his dreams of being a professional player began to take shape.

“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.”

Alphonso Davies

At only 14 years old, Alphonso joined the Vancouver Whitecaps and within a year, became one of the youngest players to ever appear in the MLS (Major League Soccer: the US and Canada’s highest professional football division). From here his career blossomed.

In 2017 – only one week after gaining Canadian citizenship – Alphonso Davies became the youngest player ever to play on the Canadian national team. Speaking about his achievement, Alphonso said “It’s going to mean a lot, representing the country I’ve lived in most of my life. Having that [Canadian] crest on my chest and playing for them is going to mean a lot for me”.

Following his impressive performance for Canada in the CONCACAF Gold Cup (where he won the young player of the tournament award), Alphonso was approached by European giants Bayern Munich. In the summer of 2018, he signed a 5-year deal for a MLS record fee of £9.84m.

Originally signed as a winger, Alphonso Davies has also made an impact for Bayern this season as a left back. During his 29 appearances for the club, Davies has scored 3 goals and has been an integral part of the champions league winning side.

From refugee to Champions League winner, Alphonso Davies undoubtedly has a bright future ahead of him.

Featured image source: Twitter @FCBayernEN

Last modified: 30th August 2020

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