Soccer-Canada Alphonso Davies moves from refugee camp to World Cup

By Gabrielle Ttrault-Farber

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

His family immigrated to Canada when he was five years old, the age at which many Canadian children are putting on skates and handling a hockey stick for the first time.

The former refugee, now 22, took Canadian men’s football to new heights, becoming the youngest player to feature on the senior national team at age 16 and the first Canadian to win the final of the Men’s Champions League.

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

Teachers noticed his exuberance, natural athleticism and early level of skill and enrolled him in an after-school soccer league for inner-city kids.

« Once I started playing organized football, parents, coaches and other teammates were telling me to keep going and that I could become something, so I started to believe it, » Davies told the site. the Bundesliga. « That’s what made me want to turn professional. »


Davies was a prodigy. At 14, he signed up for Major League Soccer’s Vancouver Whitecaps residency program and soon began making regular appearances for the senior team.

Davies joined Bayern for US$22 million in 2018, a record transfer fee for an MLS player, his ear-to-ear smile and effervescent style on the pitch making him a fan favourite.

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

« I think he’s been through a lot in his life, which allows him to have a bigger threshold than most people to dare and do and bring his identity, » Canada manager John Herdman said. , when Davies left for Germany.

« He just plays with that smile on his face. He gets kicked on the pitch, he just picks himself up. There’s no theatrics, no rolling. »

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

In a move viewed hundreds of thousands of times on YouTube, Davies raced 80 yards down the wing, keeping the ball in touch, past a defender and finishing with a low strike to give advantage in Canada.

« Alphonso’s goal was actually his life story, » one user wrote in the comments below the clip. « Hard work, perseverance, dedication and never giving up ».

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