The Canadian teenager Alphonso Davies’ incredible rise from a Ghanaian refugee camp to a Bayern Munich signee is nothing less than a modern fairy-tale. Born in a refugee camp in Buduburam, Ghana due to a civil war going on in his parents’ home country of Liberia, Davies and his family moved to Canada when he was five years old. Up until June 2017, Alphonso was classed as a Liberian national and had to apply for Canadian citizenship to represent the national team of his adopted homeland. Shortly after receiving his new passport, aged 16, he became the youngest player to represent the Canada men’s national team & also Canada’s youngest ever goalscorer.
When he was a teenager, his parents had to work multiple jobs to make ends meet, and during this time, Davies used football as an outlet in his life, and his hard work paid off when he signed for Vancouver Whitecaps at age 15. Davies had earlier joined the Whitecaps FC Residency program at 14, after playing for Edmonton Strikers. His immense talent saw him promoted to the club’s United Soccer League (USL) side, Whitecaps FC. He made his MLS debut for Vancouver against Orlando City in July 2016, making him the second youngest player in MLS history, behind the legendary Freddy Adu. Since then he has made a total of 72 appearances for Vancouver in all competitions, scoring nine goals and assisting 12.
Davies’ consistent performances impressed Bayern Munich & The Bavarian club reportedly paid €17 million, which will make him the most expensive export in MLS history when Davies joins Bayern in January of 2019. Post Davies’ transfer got confirmed, there were comparisons made between him & Owen Hargreaves, who was born and raised in Canada before joining Bayern as a 16-year-old in 1997.
An extremely fast player with some extremely impressive dribbling skills which he uses to whizz past fullbacks before unleashing a vicious shot on goal or putting in a dangerous cross. Positionally, Davies prefers left-sided role-playing as what is today called an unorthodox winger. With his already impressive pace and along with the offensive awareness that comes with experience, he will be a force to be reckoned with as he ages.
Although Davies is an extremely accomplished dribbler of the ball, he does not yet have the strength to challenge larger and more experienced defenders of the Bundesliga physically. The ability to physically compete with larger defenders is crucial in a physically demanding league such as the Bundesliga because he will not be able to rely so heavily on his pace and dribbling when playing against Europe’s elite at Bayern. Another area in which Davies needs to improve is his passing. According to Whoscored.com, he only completes 79.9% of his passes, which, while always improving, isn’t enough for a Bayern player but because of his extremely young age, he has ample time to improve his passing to reach the potential that he has.
If he can keep progressing at his current rate, Davies is young enough that he will have more than an ample amount of time to iron out his weaknesses and make an impact in the European game with Bayern Munich as well as becoming a legend of the Canadian national team.