Edmonton's Free Footie alumnus Alphonso Davies headed to celebrated European club
Transfer reportedly worth $20 million US would make it the largest in MLS history
The gifted child of Edmonton soccer is going to Europe.
The Vancouver Whitecaps have finalized a transfer of Alphonso Davies to German soccer titans, Bayern Munich, according to multiple media reports.
It's just the latest triumph for the 17-year-old phenom, whose improbable rise to soccer fame began in Edmonton and now takes him to one of the most celebrated clubs in history.
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"It's unbelievable for our country. Canadian soccer should be very, very proud," said Marco Bossio, who started coaching Davies at the age of 11 at St. Nicholas Soccer Academy. "I think it's a very proud moment for Edmonton,"
Davies was born in a refugee camp in Ghana after his parents fled the civil war in Liberia. From there, his family immigrated to Canada and settled in Edmonton when he was five years old.
Davies joined his first organized team and donned his first jersey in Edmonton at the age of 10 while playing with Free Footie, a free after-school soccer league.
"As soon as I saw him touch the ball once, I knew that was it. There's some kids you can just tell," said Tim Adams, founder of Free Footie and reporter at CBC Edmonton.
Adams first saw him play at a league tournament final in 2011.
"He immediately deked out every single other kid on the field, rifled it top shelf and won the championship for his school," Adams said. "And then history was wrote."
After seeing Davies play at that same tournament, Bossio recruited him to play for St. Nicholas Soccer Academy.
"From the outset there I could see that he was very gifted and very fast and a really good natural ability," Bossio said.
Davies went on to join the Vancouver Whitecaps in 2015, making his MLS debut at just 15 years old.
Accolades and fanfare have followed Davies with him to the Pacific coast, where he's garnered a reputation as the Whitecaps' best player and among the best in the league. He has eight assists and three goals in 20 games this season.
Davies is set to play against the premier soccer talent in the world as part of Bayern Munich, a regular contender for the prized Champions League trophy.
The transfer fees are reportedly worth $20 million US, a price no club has previously paid for an MLS player.
Bossio is excited to see how young midfielder handles the challenge of playing in a top league.
"I'm nervous and kind of worried about him going down to Germany and being in a different environment completely," he said.
"I know he's able to rise to the occasion and, definitely, I believe he's willing and able to face this challenge dead on and I think he'll succeed like he has so many times."
With files from Canadian Press