The Vancouver Whitecaps have announced that they’ve sold off their best and most promising player, 17-year-old Alphonso Davies, in an MLS-record transfer with Bayern Munich.
Davies met up with his new team in Philadelphia, putting on an FC Bayern jersey for the first time, as the German club is in North America this week for a pair of friendlies.
🗣️ @AlphonsoDavies: "I'm very happy about my transfer to #FCBayern. As a kid, you dream about this moment and I'm happy it came through. Now it's time to continue working, I have to give everything to make the most of this opportunity." #MiaSanMia pic.twitter.com/JTZ51T0ZEr
— FC Bayern English (@FCBayernEN) July 25, 2018
The Whitecaps will receive up to $22 million USD for Davies, depending on how the Canadian international performs with the storied soccer club. The transfer is reportedly worth a guaranteed $13.45 million, with performance incentives that could increase the amount to $21 million, plus a 15% sell-on clause.
The transfer fee is the largest in the 23-year history of MLS, breaking a 10-year-old record set when the New York Red Bulls sent Jozy Altidore to Villareal for $10 million.
Davies, who cannot play for another team until he turns 18 on November 2, will finish the season with the Whitecaps. He is eligible to play for Bayern when the international transfer window reopens in January 2019.
“As a kid, I always dreamed of a moment like this,” said Davies. “Now that the dream has come true, the work continues as always. I have to keep pushing and keep striving, and also keep being me on the field. Ever since I joined the ‘Caps when I was 14, they molded me throughout the years into the pro that I’ve become.
“Thanks to the fans for supporting me, I really enjoy playing in front of them in Vancouver.”
This is a major milestone for soccer in this country, as Davies is also the Canadian national team’s most promising player. Davies was born in a refugee camp in Ghana to Liberian parents who fled during the civil war. He moved to Edmonton at age five and got his Canadian citizenship last year.
He’ll learn a lot as he continues to develop with Bayern Munich, one of the most highly-regarded clubs on the planet.
Ownership has long been criticized by fans for its lack of spending on players, something that will be heightened following the Davies transfer. Whitecaps co-owner Jeff Mallett released a lengthy statement regarding the deal, and what it means for the franchise going forward.
“This is a landmark transfer for our club, country, and league,” Mallett said. “Youth development is a core part of our club. We provide player development opportunities across Canada through regional camps, tournaments, our national academy centres and Residency program. We are proud to be developing players for our club and Canadian national teams at all ages. Alphonso is an inspirational example of what is possible, and we are excited about how this transfer showcases our commitment to homegrown players for our club and country.
“Our ownership group is committed to investing 100% of the funds back into the sporting side of the club.”
As a Homegrown Player, the Whitecaps will receive 100% of the transfer fee. Davies joined the Whitecaps FC Residency program at age 14, made his MLS debut at 15, and became an everyday player at 16.
After being cautious with his playing time and media availability last season, head coach Carl Robinson has loosened the reigns on the teenaged talent this year. Vancouver’s lone All-Star, Davies has three goals and leads the team with eight assists this season. He’s on pace to break an MLS record, as he leads the league with 85 completed dribbles (the record is 114).
“Our entire team, from our youth coaches right through to our first-team coaches and support staff, have worked collaboratively for the past few years to nurture Alphonso’s exceptional talent,” said Whitecaps FC president Bob Lenarduzzi. “Alphonso is very special to us. We’re happy to have him for the rest of this season and excited to see him take on this new challenge next year.”