EDITORIAL – Alphonso Davies is one of Canada’s and Concacaf’s most promising players. Born in a refugee camp in Ghana, Davies has made his name known as the Canadian men’s national team. His love for the game of soccer started in Edmonton, the place where he grew up.
Alphonso Davies Rise to the Canadian Men’s National Team
The Childhood of Alphonso Davies
Alphonso Davies was born on November 2nd, 2000 at a Buduburam refugee camp in Ghana. At that time, his parents were refugees, who were trying to escape from the war-torn country in Liberia according to Life Bogger. However, Davies does not remember the horrors in Liberia as he and his family moved to Windsor, Ontario. A year later, he moved again to Edmonton, Alberta, where his professional soccer adventure began.
“It was a hard life,” he said, “but when I was five years old, a country called Canada welcomed us in. And the boys on the football team made me feel at home.”
Soccer in Edmonton
Melissa Guzzo, Davies’ sixth-grade teacher at St. Theresa of Calcutta saw something in Davies. According to Colette Derworiz of The Canadian Press, Guzzo said this:
“He’s such a natural talent,” she said. “Anything he touched – track, basketball, any sport – he was the kid.”
Guzzo coached the Free Footie program, a free after-school soccer league for grades 3-6 for kids who cannot afford stuff like equipment and registration fees. She then called Tim Adams, who founded Free Footie. This is what Adam said about Davies.
“I saw Alphonso take one touch and I knew he had something special,” Adams said. “He had a gift.”
Adams then went to talk to Marco Bossio, who runs the St. Nicholas Soccer Academy in Edmonton.
“There was something special about this boy,” he said. “He was fast, he had unbelievable control of the ball. I knew that was something special at that age.”
Davies would play for the St. Nicholas Soccer Academy in Edmonton for three years.
'It's nice that somebody from Edmonton, somebody from St. Nick's, is going so far in life': students at Edmonton soccer academy root for alumni Alphonso Davies at Bayern Munich https://t.co/veC1Kshgde #yeg
— Global Edmonton (@GlobalEdmonton) January 19, 2019
He also got coached by Nick Huoseh for a local team called the Edmonton Strikers according to Colette Derowitz of The Canadian Press. Huoseh is now Davies’ current agent. His time at the club, academy, and after-school programs helped him become a great player and servant to the Canadian men’s national team.
Canadian Men’s National Team
Alphonso Davies made one appearance for the Canadian men’s U20 squad and two appearances with the Canadian Men’s U17, scoring one goal in that time period. Then in 2017, Davies became a Canadian citizen.
Congratulations to new Canadian Alphonso Davies who passed his citizenship test and will take his Oath of Citizenship today in Vancouver pic.twitter.com/HARrw2k4XM
— President's Office (@CanadaSoccerPO) June 6, 2017
Then on June 14, 2017, he would make his national team debut against Curaçao in a friendly. According to Paul Heidenreich of Global News, he was the youngest player to play for the Canadian men’s national team. Then in the 2017 Concacaf Gold Cup, he would score his first two goals for the Canadian men’s national team in a 4-1 win against French Guiana.
He also played a big role in the Canada vs. Costa Rica Gold Cup group stage scoring one goal in a 1-1 draw. In that tournament, Alphonso Davies would win the Golden Boot, Young Player of the Tournament, and was included in the tournaments starting XI.
Alphonso Davies also played a big role for Team Canada in the Concacaf Nations League. In the second match against Cuba, Davies scored the only goal in the match, winning the game 1-0. Then in the famous 2-0 win at BMO Field against the United States, Davies scored the opening goal for Team Canada.
Davies has appeared in 17 appearances for Team Canada scoring five goals. Alphonso Davies can also play multiple positions.
Alphonso Davies Can Play Different Positions
John Herdman, the current head coach of the Canadian men’s national team wants to use Alphonso Davies in different positions. This is what Herdman said about Davies according to Peter Galindo of Sportsnet.
“We started that process [of Davies playing left-back],” Canada coach John Herdman said on A Kick In The Grass. “We played against low blocks and teams that you’re looking to set goal records against, and for me it was always about getting your best attacking players on the pitch.
He would also go into detail about Davies playing as a left-back. Herdman said it depends on the situation. He also gave Davies credit for his ability to play different positions according to Peter Galindo of Sportsnet.
“The hardest decision for me always to make is how do you get your best forwards on the field, who all of them are in form at the same time, then add your best midfielders. It’s like trying to fit eight players in five positions. Phonzie has given us that flexibility.”
Herdman has said the left-back position is a crucial and underrated position that is not given enough credit.
Overview of Alphonso Davies
Alphonso Davies is only 19 years old. He may have had mixed reviews with his role at the left-back position, but he will grow better in that position as he gets older. While being a striker seems to be the better position for Davies, Herdman should not give up on Davies also being a left-back.
According to bundesliga.com, Alphonso Davies could become one of the best left-backs in the world. He has a bright future with many years of soccer left in him. Alphonso Davies has also already made a difference with the Canadian Men’s National Team, being the Canadian U-17 Male Player of the Year in 2017 and winning the Canadian Men’s Player of the Year in 2018. He also made the Canadian Men’s National Team’s All-Decade Best XI according to Last Word on Sports.