Alphonso Davies is Canada’s long awaited world class footballer


It is fitting July, which begins each year with Canada Day, has been the month launching Vancouver Whitecaps teenage sensation Alphonso Davies onto the world stage as soccer’s next star prodigy.

Davies, the Edmonton-raised former refugee and recent Canadian citizen, lit Major League Soccer on fire this month, scoring an array of beautiful goals. 2018 has been another season of progression after a strong 2017, in which he was named Young Player of the Tournament at the Gold Cup and finished tied with Jordan Morris as the tournament’s top goalscorer.

Most importantly, Davies drew the interest of Europe’s biggest clubs during the summer transfer window. He ultimately landed with German giants FC Bayern München, the club that famously brought Calgary-born Owen Hargreaves to Bavaria before Hargreaves rose to stardom.

The difference between Hargreaves and Davies – both Albertan-raised players who rose from the Canadian ranks to Bayern – is that Davies has committed to playing for Canada’s National Team, and has already performed at a high level at the Gold Cup last summer.

Hargreaves famously spurned Canada and chose to play for England internationally. A decision at the time that was understandable considering the opportunity to play amongst some of the biggest names in the world, yet was a decision that stunted the growth of the sport in Canada.

Now, Canada has a player who is a can’t-miss talent and represents the country incredibly well for an athlete at the age of 17.

On the pitch, it is easy to see why Bayern coughed up a record-setting transfer fee for a Major League Soccer player. Davies has everything you want in a wing player and still has an abundance of untapped upside.

The tools Davies has in his still-developing arsenal were put on full display on Saturday night at BC Place in Vancouver. In front of his home crowd and after a week of celebrating his massive move to Bayern this January, Davies put on the best performance of his career.

Scoring two highlight-reel goals and adding an assist on the counter-attack in a 4-2 win over Minnesota United, Davies’ added to his fairytale summer and poured gasoline over the flaming hype around one of the world’s biggest wonderkid prospects.

It is hard to think of a teenaged player in the world at the present moment who has as much hype and as much upside as Davies does. Even World Cup sensation Kylian Mbappe is 19 and has been afforded a higher level of training and development by virtue of his time at Ligue 1 club AS Monaco.

Given the culture at FC Bayern – a club famous for its Säbener Strasse performance center that has developed the likes of Phillip Lahm, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Thomas Müller and the aforementioned Hargreaves – Davies appears to be in good hands to take the gifts he has developed into Canada to the next level of European stardom.

With Bayern legends Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben both headed to the tail ends of their distinguished careers, Davies also has a likely path to playing time in the near future once he makes the jump to Bundesliga at the end of his farewell tour with the Whitecaps. A big concern for a young player as promising young stars often fall through the cracks in the ultra-competitive world of Champions League-level European football clubs.

Since joining Major League Soccer, Canada has waited for the dividends of the development offers the American league can bring to the table. With American players counting to the “domestic player” roster spots for the league’s three Canadian clubs, critics have long discussed just how effective the league is at helping the sport grow at the youth level in Canada.

With Davies, there is hope that after a decade of investment in youth academies to bring Canadian players into the system that more fairytale stories are in the future in this country. After years of failure and disappointment surrounding the sport, a truly world-class player like Davies coming out of nowhere gives hope and optimism to Canada that a brighter future awaits.

The Bundesliga awaits Alphonso Davies and he is already giving Canada one hell of a farewell tour. The next stop may just be taking Canada past the United States and into the World Cup at long last for a country of football supporters that have been waiting for optimism for a long, long, time.