Before he was a star for Canada and Bayern Munich, Alphonso Davies lived in Ghana after being born in a refugee camp to Liberian parents.
And on World Refugee Day, the United Nations ambassador Davies is speaking up.
“Anyone can become a refugee at any moment,” Davies said via the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. “Canada is a leader in refugee resettlement. This makes me proud and I’m happy to know more people will be able to rebuild their lives, just like my family.”
In his youth, Davies and his family relocated to Canada, where they settled in Edmonton before moving to Vancouver as a teenager to join the Whitecaps’ Academy.
“Anyone can become a refugee. Suddenly you’re forced to flee your home, the classroom you teach in, the hospital you work in, the pitch you play on,” Davies continued. “It’s tough and they deserve our support.”
Canada welcomed 401,000 permanent residents in 2021, the most in its history, as well as the most of any country in the world, per the UN Refugee agency.
— Alphonso Davies (@AlphonsoDavies) June 19, 2022
Canadian national team head coach John Herdman spoke in January about the team’s diverse makeup, with eight of his players having been born outside of Canada.
“We’ve got a high immigrant population, many of those people have come from football countries and the [Canadian] national team have been beaten up for so long,” the English-born Herdman said. “I think there’s a lot of people now that can rally around the sport they love and pull on a red jersey on at the same time and be proud.”
Canada is currently set to make its first appearance at the World Cup since 1986 this coming November, before hosting 10 matches in the tournament in Toronto and Vancouver in 2026.
“We’re one country,” goalkeeper Milan Borjan added in a January press conference, who was born in the former Yugoslavia – now called Croatia. “Canada is a multicultural country. We fight for what’s given to us. Canada gave us peace, better schools, a better life… better everything. This is just the way of us to return it to Canada.”