“I used to play as Bayern on FIFA, i never thought i would play for them!”- Alfonso Davies
Bayern Munich’s acquisition of a 17 year old would probably normally go unnoticed in the world of football but the signing of the Vancouver Whitecaps midfielder Alphonso Davies caught the attention of a lot of people within the footballing community, mine included.
Davies rise from fleeing a refugee camp in Ghana to signing for one of Europe’s top teams is nothing short of what every young footballers dreams are made of so i thought i would take a look at how and where it all began for the now Canadian international.
A significant move
Alfonso Davies’ Liberian parents Debeah and Victoria had fled their homeland after the breakout of the second civil war to hit the country since 1999 and had settled in Budubaram a refugee camp in the Gamoa east district in Ghana.
This was to be the birthplace of Alphonso Boyle Davies on the 2nd of November 2000 and after living in the camp for a little over 4 and a half years Debeah decided to move his young family (he openly admits mainly for the benefit of Alphonso) to Windsor, Ontario and then a year later to Edmonton some 780 miles east of Vancouver a move which would prove to be significant later on in Alphonso’s life.
It was here in Edmonton that Davies enrolled on to a free football program for impoverished young people and then progress to playing for a local team called the Edmonton Strikers of which would come a friendship that would prove invaluable to Davies. Davies first met Nick Househ when Davies joined the team he coached and for 8 years and through playing football, attending school Davies led a typical young boys life all the while being helped and guided along the way by Househ.
Househ’s influence and friendship to not only Alphonso ,but also his family, would become the pillar of what would follow. Whilst Debeah and Victoria worked Househ would drive the young Alphonso Davies to and from training, they would hang out together and talk like friends and Househ was clearly a big influence on him with Davies saying ‘he treated me like his son’.
In February 2016 Alphonso Davies joined the Whitecaps FC residency and was also invited and went on the Vancouver Whitecaps pre-season tour in 2016 and later on that year Davies officially signed a contract with Whitecaps FC 2, who play their game in the USL, making him the youngest player ever to be signed by a club in the league (he was 15). He scored two goals in eleven games.
The boys a bit special isn’t he?
It was clear that Davies could have the ability to achieve great things even at such a young age. His direct running with the ball, his close control, calmness in front of goal and excellent delivery was shining through already. He was just too good to not have in the first team so into the MLS he went with the Vancouver Whitecaps after being named on the official roster for 2016 and at the same time signing a short term contract albeit with options for further more years.
He is still only 16.
Davies made his MLS debut on July 16th becoming the second youngest player to appear in the MLS with only Freddy Adu ahead of him. A first goal came against Ottawa Fury in a first leg of a CONCACAF Champions League tie scoring in injury time to earn his side a knockout berth in the next round. There were murmerings at clubs around Europe but nothing more.
The time had come for Davies to see how he would fare in the Canadian international set up and after passing a citizenship test meaning he could now be eligible to play for Canada Davies played for the Under 17’s then the Under 20’s and in March 2017 Davies was named Male Player of the Year for his performances with the senior Canadian national team including scoring twice in a 4-2 win over French Guyana making him again the youngest scorer in Gold Cup history achieving all this whilst still only being 16 years of age.
A computer game becomes a reality
As it turned out clubs in Europe had heard of Davies with Liverpool, Manchester United and AC Milan all cited as having an interest in the pacy wide man playing in Canada. That being said his future employers in Germany were seemingly unaware of him at this point however true this is we may never know of course. Then out of the blue a UK based source close to Bayern put them onto Davies and so the wheels began to turn.
Fast forward to 2018 and Bayern had come to the table with a very lucrative but pleasant offer on the table but with no agent up until now Davies decided to turn to the one man he could trust in football matters Nick Househ. Trouble was Househ wasn’t a registered agent and had zero experience in negotiating player contracts but not to be put off Househ registered with the Canadian FA and proceeded to represent his first and only client Alphonso Davies.
Both Davies and Househ have since said that Bayern were by far the most professional club they had spoken to with the current Bundesliga champions applying no pressure to Davies. Firstly he would not be going to Germany immediately instead Davies would stay in Vancouver until January 2019 to allow him and his family time to digest the move and the speed it came about. Secondly he would not be sent out on loan when he eventually arrives in Munich and would be assured of first team minutes and thirdly and more importantly Davies family would be looked after in every regard although the specifics of this are understandably unclear at this time.
The final deal in itself is a contract that runs until 2023 with a base fee of $13.5 million USD (£10.2 million) with performance related bonuses that could reach as high as $22 million USD (£16.7 million), this is a record for the MLS. Not huge figures in terms of transfer fees these day but remember Alphonso Davies won’t be 18 until November.
I personally cannot wait to see how Alphonso Davies gets on at Bayern and with them having an excellent record with younger players he should excel there.