The German Bundesliga has always been the central hub of promising young talents emerging from the shadows into the mainstream of World Football. The rise of young players like Jadon Sancho, Kai Havertz, Julian Brandt, Timo Werner, Serge Gnabry etc is a testament to the level of talent nurturing in the German league.
The latest addition to this category is Alphonso Davies, one of the shining lights of the Bayern Munich team this season.
The Canadian, who operates as a left-back for the Bavarian giants, has enjoyed a meteoric rise this despite not been tipped to become a mainstay in the Bayern Munich first team from the beginning. Davis’ rise is remarkable for a young talent who started his career as a winger when he first joined the club. The youngster possesses a lot of potentials, which might take him to the levels of Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo in the future. His pace, combined with his youthful exuberance, makes him a lethal asset at both ends of the pitch and is no surprise he is featuring prominently for both Bayern and the Canadian National team. Here is a profile of Alphonso Davies and a look at his journey from being a teenager in the Major League Soccer (MLS) to being a starter for Bayern Munich.
Alphonso Davies was born on November 2 to Liberian parents in Buduburam, a refugee camp in Gomoa East District, Central Region of Ghana, before they migrated to Canada as refugees when Davies turned five years old.
Davies’ football journey began at Edmonton Internationals and Edmonton Strikers before deciding to ply his trade with Whitecaps FC Residency as a 14-year old kid.
His Journey to the MLS
Alphonso Davies made history in 2016 as the youngest player to sign a United Soccer League contract when he joined Whitecaps FC 2 at the age of 15 years and three months on February 23. Davies went on to make his debut for the club two months later. He went on to become the youngest goalscorer in USL history when he scored his first professional goal at the age of 15 years, six months. He ended the season with 11 appearances and two goals in what was the first step in a promising professional career for the youngster.
Davies’ MLS Career in Perspective
Davies’ impressive performances as a teenager for Whitecaps FC 2 in the United Soccer League caught the attention of the senior MLS side, Vancouver Whitecaps, who called up the teenager to the first-team roster. He went on to make his debut for the MLS side in their first leg encounter against Ottawa Fury in the Canadian Championship.
His showings in the Canadian Championships was enough to convince the Whitecaps to hand the youngster a two-year first-team contract in 2016 with the option of an extension for two further seasons.
His signing made him one of the few youngsters to ever sign an MLS contract in the league’s history. He became the youngest player since Freddy Adu to feature in the MLS when he made his debut for the club on July 16, 2016.
Davies scored his first goal in his team’s win in the Whitecaps’ 2016–17 CONCACAF Champions League clash with Sporting Kansas City to book a knockout round place in the competition.
Davies finished the season with 15 appearances in the MLS (8), Canadian Championship (4) and the CONCACAF Champions League (3).
His exploits in his debut season in the MLS saw him included in the list of the 60 best young soccer talents in the world in 2017.
Davies became a regular in the first team after his breakthrough season and went on to make 66 appearances with 11 goals in all competitions in his final two seasons with the Whitecaps.
From Backup to Starter at Bayern Munich
Despite moving to Bayern Munich for big-money after turning 18 on January 19, it was clear from the beginning that Davies was not going to play a big part in the team considering the level of competition for places in the team. Despite the abundance of talent he possessed, he was still behind the pecking order at the club with the likes of Kingsley Coman, Serge Gnabry, Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery who were all first-choice attackers. The competition meant a place in the Bayern Reserves and few cameo appearances from the bench for the first team. Despite earning a Bundesliga title medal in his limited appearances, the Canadian youngster showed glimpses of his abilities and became the team’s youngest scorer in the 21st century in a 6-1 demolition of Mainz 05. In the left-back spot, then Bayern coach Niko Kovac had finally found a position Davies would fit in.
Davies’ ascension to a starting role came at the expense of the injuries to first-choice defenders Niklas Süle, Lucas Hernandez, and David Alaba at the beginning of this season. His inclusion in the first team has also led to him earning a superstar status in the Canadian National team, which has seen him score five goals in 17 appearances for his country.
The Stats Do not Lie
Despite playing in an unfamiliar position for Bayern, Alphonso Davies has contributed two goals and five assists in his 23 appearances for Bayern.
Aside from his attacking prowess, the youngster has also adapted and excelled in the defensive side of his game. He averages 58 percent per-game for challenges won. He also averages 0.83 passes to a shot and 94.7 touches per game.
Davies’ most significant asset and strength is his pace and ability to cover the pitch quickly. He has 6.84 miles for distance covered while also making 36.3 percent successful sprint attempts.
It is clear Davies has the potential to succeed in the game at a young age. The youngster has already grabbed the opportunity presented to him and is gradually heading in an upward trajectory to becoming perhaps the left-back in the world.