Bayern Munich wonderkid Alphonso Davies says he is “infinitely grateful” to his parents – who hail from Liberia, for playing a big part in his career.
The 19-year old was born in the Ghanaian city of Buduburam and grew up in a refugee camp with his parents who fled the second civil war in Liberia that killed and displaced thousands of people between 1999 and 2003.
Davies’ family had to endure living in harsh conditions where access to food, water and proper shelter and sanitation was a constant struggle.
They migrated to Canada in 2006 when Alphonso was five years old, settling in the city of Edmonton and he got his youth career off at local sides Edmonton Internazionale, Edmonton Strikers, St. Nicholas Soccer Academy and FC Edmonton Academy.
His senior breakthrough came with Vancouver Whitecaps at the age of 15 in 2016, becoming the second youngest-ever player in Major League Soccer after Ghanaian-born American Freddie Adu.
A year later, Davies gained Canadian citizenship and made his debut for the Canada senior national team ahead of the 2017 Concacaf Gold Cup at the age of 16, making him the youngest player for the North American country.
After 81 appearances, 12 goals and 14 assists for the Whitecaps, Davies moved to Bayern Munich in January 2019 for an MLS-record sale of $22 million.
His stock has continued to rise in the Bavarian capital, drawing plaudits for his pace, dribbling and defensive attributes. All these have made him a regular at left-back for Bayern, with three goals and nine assists in 37 competitive appearances this season.
“I think it runs in my whole family,” Davies said on Bayern Munich’s official website when asked about how he always gives his best on the pitch.
“We went through tough times when I was very young and I’m so infinitely grateful to my parents. Their journey began during the civil war in Liberia, and we came to Canada via Ghana.
“I can enjoy every single day of my life, but I know that there are other sides to life. All the more reason why I now try to convey to people how important it is to feel a sense of joy. I try to do that on the soccer pitch and, among other things in video clips now and again.”
Davies went on to assert his desire to inspire children to be motivated by his story so they can live their dreams just as he is doing.
“I want to be an inspiration to lots and lots of children,” he continued.
“We came to Canada as refugees from Africa and worked hard for everything we have. I think my life can show people that a lot is possible if you stay true to yourself and don’t let yourself be led astray.
“When children all over the world see me playing and hear the story behind it, it’s nice to imagine them drawing motivation from it and developing the courage to work on their own dreams as well.”