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Great Canadian Hope: Whitecaps' Alphonso Davies becomes a citizen

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Rob Williams Jun 06, 2017 7:58 am 733

Canada’s national soccer team just got a big boost.

Alphonso Davies, the Vancouver Whitecaps teenaged soccer sensation, now has Canadian citizenship. That means the 16-year-old midfielder can begin playing for Canada’s Men’s National Team immediately, which he may just do.

Davies will attend national team camp in Montreal, and could suit up for an international friendly on June 13. If all goes well, he could be named to Canada’s Gold Cup squad in mid-June, and play in international matches of consequence beginning in July.

 

 

 

Davies was born in Buduburam, a refugee camp in Gomoa East District in the central region of Ghana, to Liberian parents who took refuge in Ghana after fleeing the Liberian civil war.

He moved to Canada at age five, growing up primarily in Edmonton. Davies joined the Whitecaps FC Residency program at age 13, working his way up the ranks quickly.

He debuted for the Whitecaps last year at age 15, and earned a full-time spot on the roster the following season.

Davies has registered four goals and two assists in 14 starts and 32 matches across all competitions since making his first team debut with Vancouver. Over the last year, he has become the youngest player to score a goal in the CONCACAF Champions League, Canadian Championship, and United Soccer League.

“It’s a great honour to be able to call myself a Canadian citizen,” Davies said. “First of all, I am thankful to Canada Soccer and Whitecaps FC for their tremendous support throughout this process. Not many people can say they’re a Canadian citizen, knowing that it’s one of the best countries in the world. I’m very proud that I’m one of those people.

“I’m also extremely thankful to my parents for everything they’ve done throughout the years, carrying the family to this safe environment. This is our home. This is where I grew up. And now to have the opportunity to represent the men’s national team is a great honour.”

Davies has been part of Canada Soccer’s Men’s EXCEL Program since 2014, and first represented his adopted home country at age 13 in a Canada Soccer U-15 identification camp the same year.

“We are very proud to welcome Alphonso Davies into our Men’s National Team Program as a full Canadian citizen,” said Steve Reed, president of Canada Soccer. “Coming up through Canada Soccer’s youth system, he has worked hard to achieve his success and he will be a big part of our future.”

This is one more step in young Alphonso realizing his Canadian dream.

“I’m proud of him,” said Alphonso’s mother Victoria. “If I look back, where we came from, refugee camp, no food, no clothes, and where we are today. He has everything that he needs.”

“This is his home,” added Alphonso’s father Debeah. “He wanted to become a citizen and play for Canada … I’m proud of him and I love him.”

Though he still has a long way to go, Davies represents hope for a national team that is currently ranked 109th in the world, tied with Jordan and Equatorial Guinea.

Canada has not qualified for a World Cup since 1986 and hasn’t even made it to the final round of qualification (the Hex), since the 1998 World Cup.

 

Along with the United States and Mexico, Canada appears to be a lock to host World Cup games in 2026. Davies will be 25 years old by then, and could be our country’s best player.

“We need to continue developing Alphonso on a daily basis,” said Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson. “The football side is important, but when you find a place where you’re happy and you’re settled and you feel warmth – and the Canadian people certainly give you warmth here in the country – that’s very important too. I think Alphonso and his parents have found this and now call this home. Where else would you want to be? Canada is a perfect place.”

See also

 


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Rob Williams
Man of the people, voice of the fans. Daily Hive Sports Editor.

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