Alphonso Davies’ rise to acclaim really caught attention at a fascinating night in London for the youngster. The winger turned left-back came up with a fantastic performance against Frank Lampard’s Chelsea to attract the eyes of so many around the world. Where he is now is perhaps a miracle. Life hadn’t been as easy on the youngster as many others.
Born in 2000, Davies had taken birth in the Gomoa East District of Ghana. His parents were Liberian by nationality. They had taken shelter in Ghana after having fleed from their country as a result of the ensuing Second Liberian Civil War in 1999. Davies’ birth took place at a tumultuous point, as his parents had to move to Canada as refugees.
Times back in Ghana were tough. There a constant fight for survival every day. His parents had to struggle for food, water and shelter.
They first arrived at Windsor, Ontario but would later move to Edmonton, Alberta. Davies was five back then and that was when he first kicked a ball. This happened at local club Edmonton Internationals but a year later, he moved another local club Edmonton Strikers.
At a very young age, it was clear that Davies was not a player to be taken for granted. He always had that pace about him which left the opposition rattled. And he was never afraid to use him and that helped him attract a lot of attention.
Another special thing about young Davies was his smile. He always had a bright smile on his face. No matter how tough things got, he never lost that charm about himself. That too set him apart.
He moved to the Whitecaps Residency in 2015. It was and still is a system that sees young players live with a billet family or have a parent move out unless they already live around the place. While he was only 14 back then, he was fast-tracked into the pre-season tour for the senior Whitecaps side at the mere age of 15 in 2016.
Months later, he became the youngster player to sign a contract with Whitecaps 2. He also became the youngest debutant for the side, featuring at 15 years of age. The progress he made for them was so instant that he got to join up with the first-team after just 11 appearances for Whitecaps 2.
His debut for the senior side came in the Canadian Championship but he made his MLS debut days later. He was the youngest player in the division at that point and the second-youngest to make his debut behind Freddy Adu.
Within a year of the debut campaign, Davies had attracted the attention of Manchester United, Liverpool and even Chelsea. But he did play the 2018 season, contributing to 18 goals in 31 appearances for the Whitecaps. Life certainly had come quite far for the teenager.
It was in the summer of 2018 that Bayern Munich came calling. The Bavarians shelled out US$13.5 million, with performance-related bonuses that totalled up to $22 million. It was then an MLS record and certainly still a record for a teenager’s transfer fees.
Like it was meant to, Davies didn’t go into the Bayern first-team directly. He did play for their Reserves side, as the left-wing position was filled to the brim with options under Niko Kovac. After just five appearances for the Bayern Reserves side, he got the chance.
He could play only four minutes in the debut against VFB Stuttgart but for someone whose parents were struggling for food 17 years ago in Ghana, this was a huge task. He did make some appearances from the bench last season but he was never meant to either.
This season, his rise has been about snatching his chance at the right time. When Bayern suffered an injury crisis in defence with summer signing Lucas Hernandez and Niklas Sule, Davies got a chance in a position that he was never a natural in.
But his pace was meant to catch the opposition on the left side and scare them. Davies has done just that, grabbing this chance with both hands. He’s now played in each of the club’s last 15 Bundesliga games and has got three assists during this time.
Before his sacking, Kovac was full of praise for Davies. He said: “You can see the qualities he has. He can play full-back or as a winger, so we’ve been giving that a go in pre-season. We’re trying to determine where and in what situations we can bring him in.”
That shows how far the player has come. The impression he gave at Chelsea was something he has deserved for a while now. Davies, more than anyone, knows that dreams do come true. And they can come true quicker than one thinks.