REMEMBERING HIS ROOTS
Davies celebrates 18th birthday in Edmonton
There were about 30 houses that Phonzie and his teenage friends hit on Halloween in Edmonton.
“Only one person recognized me,” said the suddenly famous professional soccer player Alphonso Davies of a trick-ortreat expedition on one his final days of being a 17-year-old.
“I’d played soccer with their son growing up in my elementary school days, so they knew me,” he said of the outing in his old neighbourhood.
After the Vancouver Whitecaps played their final MLS game of the season, the kid who became major international soccer news by attracting a record US$22million transfer fee from German power Bayern Munich returned home to the city that produced him.
Davies didn’t make any public appearances or hold any press conferences. The one thing he did was make one surprise appearance at his old junior high school. He wanted to spend as much time as he could with his family and friends being the guy they knew before he was famous.
“I just wanted to be home with my family and to hang out with my friends. It was good. My friends made me feel like a 17-year-old, especially the night I went trick-or-treating with them to get candy,” he said.
“One of my friends dressed up as a sumo wrestler. The rest of us dressed up as his trainers.
“We hit quite a few houses. We had a big bag for the candy and it filled up pretty quickly. They liked our idea, so they gave us more candy.”
They hit their neighbourhood in northeast Edmonton.
“I hadn’t had much time to spend with my parents, so I finally had a chance to do that,” he said of mom Victoria and dad Debeah.
“That was good, especially on my birthday,” added the young phenom who was born in a refugee camp in Ghana, where his parents had fled from the Liberian civil war.
On Nov. 2, Davies celebrated his 18th birthday at home.
“We just had some people over to the house. My mom made some food. It was nice.”
His entire family was able to attend the emotional farewell game in Vancouver. They were part of a special presentation in his honour.
Fans were invited to sign a giant postcard and stood for the 67th minute of the game to honour the player who wore No. 67 for the team. Davies scored two goals in the game.
“It started out as a regular day for me. I woke up, showered, ironed my clothes and went to the stadium. I didn’t know what was going to happen. When I came on the field, I shuddered.”
He said it was a night to remember like the one after he first became a name in the game — the one that to this point stands as his greatest game.
After returning from Moscow, where he was the impressive leadoff speaker for the successful Canada-U.S.-Mexico 2026 World Cup bid, he spent several more days away from the Whitecaps to fly to Philadelphia to sign with Bayern Munich. After a twoweek absence, he finally suited up again with the Whitecaps, officially on loan to the team until he turned 18. He scored two goals and had two assists in a 4-2 win.
“I wasn’t able to be on the field or even to train and I was missing soccer a lot. When I got back on the field, my passion for the game really took over. I wanted to get out there and really perform,” he said.
Davies said he thought about his Edmonton upbringing and development a lot in the last few months and that’s why he decided to make the one school visit when he got home.
“I decided I wanted to visit St. Nicholas, my old junior high school. It was good to see all the kids that are passing through the St. Nichols Soccer Academy. I was once one of them. It was nice to see how it is now and see all my old teachers.”
This weekend he leaves for St. Kitts and Nevis to train and play for the national team in a CONCACAF Nations League qualifying game. From there he’ll fly to Germany to join Bayern Munich, for whom he wasn’t eligible to join until he turned 18.
“For the first few weeks I don’t expect much to happen. I’m just going to go over and get my feet wet,” he said. “I think three or four weeks with the team before the Christmas break will be really helpful.”
He’ll be back in Edmonton for two weeks at Christmas and intends to find time to be out in the community more.
“I’m happy to do it. Those are the people who are supporting me. Kids are looking up to me, so I want to be inspiration for them.”
But for this last week or so, it was great to be hanging out with his mates in his old neighbourhood.
My friends made me feel like a 17-year-old, especially the night I went trick-or-treating with them.
Edmonton’s Alphonso Davies, now 18, embraces his dad Debeah after playing his final match last month with Major League Soccer’s Vancouver Whitecaps.