Alphonso Davies brings Canadian pride to Bundesliga challenge

Former Vancouver Whitecaps striker Alphonso Davies is getting ready for the next challenge of his career in the Bundesliga. (Darryl Dyck/CP)

There might not be any athlete who was looking forward to the start of 2019 more than Alphonso Davies. The Canadian teenager has been chomping at the bit to take the next step in his meteoric rise in the soccer world, and to play in one of the biggest leagues in the world with one of the biggest clubs in the world, Bayern Munich.

In July, the Bundesliga powerhouse reached a transfer agreement with the Vancouver Whitecaps for the talented 18-year-old attacking player.

The deal was initially worth $13.5 million (11.84 million euros), which could rise as high as $22 million (18.75 million euros), a record for an MLS player. The deal stipulated Davies would play out the calendar year in Canada before heading to Germany.

In October I sat down with Davies in a downtown Toronto hotel to go through the whirlwind ascension that has taken him from being born in an African refugee camp, to seeking asylum in Canada at the age of five, to making his MLS debut at age 15, Canadian national team debut at 16, and Bayern Munich debut at 18.

Davies was in Toronto to play for Canada in a 2-0 win over Jamaica at BMO Field. As a first generation son of Jamaican immigrants myself, I was most interested in Davies’ own immigrant story to Canada and why he felt compelled to not only get his Canadian citizenship but represent the country on the international stage.

The video of our conversation can be seen below here:

Since our chat, Davies has joined Bayern and he made his debut against Borussia Monchengladbach on Sunday in the Telekom Cup.

He made an impact immediately in first game, toying with Danish under-21 defender Andreas Poulsen, and showing the same quality on the ball that made him a favourite amongst Whitecaps fans.

Just two weeks after officially joining the club the Canadian winger lined up on the right-hand side of the Bayern attack, and always looked like a threat, especially in the final minute of the match when he was unlucky to not be awarded a penalty after out pacing Poulsen into the Gladbach’s area.

The Telekom Cup is a four-team friendly tournament that serves as a warm-up for the second half of the Bundesliga season. With Davies’ help Bayern won the trophy for a record fifth time, and the previous four times they’ve gone on to win the Bundesliga title. This time though when Bayern returns to competitive play Friday against Hoffenheim, they’ll have a six-point deficit to make up on league leaders Borussia Dortmund.

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If he strings some good performances together it isn’t out of the question that Davies will be leaned on to help close that gap.

“He’s definitely a player we have earmarked for the first-team,” Bayern manager Niko Kovač said in November about Davies, who is under contract until 2023. “Bayern will not hold Davies back.”

It was emotion Davies couldn’t hold back after the debut.

“I’m living the dream, it makes me want to cry,” Davies said after lifting the Telekom Cup.

It’s the dream of many Canadian soccer fans that he’ll be lifting trophies wearing a Canadian jersey too, in the future. If he does, Davies will be thankful for all the steps in his past that allowed him and his family to live the Canadian dream.

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