From Refugee Camp To Germany – Alphonso Davies Painful Journey To The Top

Oluwole Ola

Alphonso Davies is quite simply on one at the moment, and he’s not showing any signs of slowing down.

The Bayern Munich man and former Vancouver Whitecaps Homegrown star continued his recent torrid run of form in Bayern’s UEFA Champions League romp over Chelsea on Tuesday, assisting on his team’s third and final goal of the match in the 76th minute with one of his patented tears down the flank before he sent in a pinpoint cross to teammate Robert Lewandowski for an easy point-blank finish.

But he’s had an incredible journey to the top of world football.

Davies’ parents, both from Liberia, fled the country during the second Liberian Civil war. They fled to Ghana, where Davies was born in a refugee camp in 2000. Davies didn’t spend much of his childhood in the country, though, with his parents keen to move away as quickly as possible.

“We were worried because hunger can kill you in the refugee camp anyway,” said Davies’ father, Debeah, per Sky Sports.

“It’s not only in a war zone, but in the camp if there is no food people die, right? So every day we needed to make sure we have something for him to eat, and make it in life.”

So, after passing an interview stage, Davies’ family moved to Canada as refugees when he was just five and they settled in Windsor, Ontario. A year later, they would be on the move again as they relocated to Edmonton.

It was there where Davies would play his youth football and he was spotted by Vancouver Whitecaps at the age of 14. It would be a rapid rise through the ranks for Davies from there. Davies became the youngest player to sign to a United Soccer League (USL) contract at 15 years, three months.

He made his debut two months later in May 2016 and he became the youngest ever goalscorer in the USL in June. After ending the season with two goals in 11 games, Davies was called up to Vancouver’s first team. He made his MLS debut in June 2016 and, at 15 years and eight months, he became the second youngest player to ever play in MLS.

A year later he would make his Canada debut. He gained Canadian citizenship in June 2017 and, at 16 years old, he became the country’s youngest player when he played in a friendly against Curaçao. Davies would go on to play three seasons for the Whitecaps, scoring 12 times in 81 games.

His form in MLS alerted the attention of the world’s best clubs and it was Bayern Munich who won the race for his signature in July 2018.

He signed in a deal worth up to $22 million which was a then-MLS record. He was just 17 at the time. He officially joined Bayern in January 2019 and made his debut the same month.

Originally a winger, Davies has been deployed as a left-back this season. That has proved a masterstroke. In 26 appearances this year, Davies has already established himself as one of the best left-backs in the world. He underlined that reputation with another stunning performance against Chelsea on Tuesday.

Davies makes just as much of an attacking contribution from left back as he did from a more advanced left wing position, and he’s harder for opponents to track when he starts his runs from deeper. He is very quickly learning how to defend, too. In just 17 starts, Davies has become universally regarded as the best left back prospect in world football.

On a few occasions, Chelsea attackers got behind the Bayern back line, but Davies used his recovery speed to cut out the threat. And in the second half, he sprinted past four Chelsea defenders to provide this spectacular assist. It was a dominating all-around performance. He never put a foot wrong while defending, passing or running forward.

Davies is, by any measure, the most impactful attacking fullback in the Bundesliga this season. His numbers, via StatsBomb, are outrageous. He’s leading the pack in successful dribbles and xG buildup — the expected number goals on attacks where a player has any involvement — and is well above average in a number of other categories.

It’s been a remarkable journey for Davies and, at 19 years old, he looks set to be at the top of world football for many years to come.

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