From Refugee to Bayern Superstar: The Rise of Alphonso Davies

F.C. Bayern Munich superstar Alphonso Davies has experienced his rise to stardom in recent years, whether it’s from recently winning the treble with Bayern or his carefree personality on social media. Life, however, hasn’t been so easy for the 20-year-old youngster.

Reading Time: 3 minutes

F.C. Bayern Munich superstar Alphonso Davies has experienced his rise to stardom in recent years, whether it’s from recently winning the treble with Bayern or his carefree personality on social media. Life, however, hasn’t always been so easy for the 20-year-old youngster. He was born in Ghana and relocated to Edmonton, Canada when he was only five years old. It was there that Davies began his journey in soccer. But how did he manage to go from residing in a refugee camp to playing for Bayern?

Davies was born on November 2, 2000 in a refugee camp in Buduburam, Ghana. He was born to Liberian parents who fled Liberia during the Second Liberian Civil War. In an interview with The Guardian, Davies explained that his parents worked long hours, which meant that Davies helped around the house and took care of his younger siblings. While he was adjusting to Canadian life, he found acceptance on the soccer pitch. As a child, Davies played for a soccer league named Free Footie, an organization for underprivileged students. His former teacher, Mr. Adams, noticed a remarkable skill within him.

Fourteen-year-old Davies joined the Whitecaps FC Residency in 2015. His parents were concerned about his future and falling down the wrong path, but he convinced them to let him enroll. He signed with Whitecaps FC 2, the reserve team, where he scored two goals in 11 appearances. His amazing performances prompted him to sign a long-term contract with MLS club Vancouver Whitecaps. The talented winger ended his inaugural season with 15 first-team appearances. It was around this time that he received a call-up from the Canadian national team. Davies passed his citizenship test in June 2017 and became eligible to play for Canada. He played in the 2017 Gold Cup, where he won the Golden Boot with three goals. His performances attracted many prominent clubs from England to scout him, and he was inches away from a move to Premier League’s Crystal Palace F.C. at 15 years old, but the club’s chairman, Steve Parish, said they failed to obtain a work permit. He enjoyed his next two seasons in the MLS, with four goals and three assists in the 2017 season and eight goals and 10 assists in the 2018 season. He was included in the MLS roster for the 2018 MLS All-Star Game against Juventus, where Juventus won 5-3 in a penalty shootout after a 1-1 draw.

A month after the MLS All-Star Game, Vancouver announced Davies’s $13.5 million transfer to Bayern. In an interview with The Guardian, Davies expressed his surprise with Bayern’s interest and his eagerness to compete at a higher level. He would join the German supergiants after he finished the MLS season. Davies made his Bundesliga debut in a home game against VFB Stuttgart. In his debut 2018/19 season, he spent a lot of time on the bench, out of the main squad, or injured. However, his determination to improve aspects of his game continued. It was during the following season when Davies proved his expertise. With injuries to new defender Lucas Hernandez, Davies regularly played as a left back instead of a winger. He repaid this faith by putting on fantastic displays in both defense and attack. In a Round of 16 Champions League game against Chelsea F.C., Davies put on a sensational show for the Bavarians, assisting Robert Lewandowski in a 3-0 win. With all these superb performances, he was widely praised among pundits and in the media and retained his position in the squad. Bayern eventually won the treble, emerging victorious with the Champions League, Bundesliga, and DFB-Pokal titles, with a lot of credit due to Davies. The Canadian rounded up his successful season with three goals and 10 assists and was named Bundesliga Rookie of the Year. He was also nominated for the 2020 Golden Boy award, along with sensations Erling Haaland and Jadon Sancho.

Davies’s story proves how any person can accomplish whatever they put their mind to. "Coming to Europe and winning the Champions League with a great club like Bayern is everything I can ask for," Davies said to BT Sport after the Champions League final. "My story—it just goes to show if you set your mind to it, you can do anything. I'm happy to have the medal around my neck and the trophy by my side." Even after going through the toughest of times, Davies found a way to accomplish his dream in professional soccer by working hard and waiting for his chances. He is an inspiration to many young children and teens playing soccer, including myself. His love for soccer and desire to learn give me hope to be happy and learn more from life. Furthermore, his ability to come back from his injury and exclusion from the Bayern squad helps me realize how I can’t give up on my dreams and that I must work hard in order to accomplish them.