In the afternoon of Jan. 28, 2018, Alphonso Davies, a 16-year-old Vancouver-raised soccer player, scored a goal for his Canadian youth national team. That night, at Bayern Munich’s Allianz Arena, the star forward launched a multimedia project that reveals the lives of youths in Ghana and Liberia.
The Toronto Star named Davies as the “male Canadian athlete” for the current season. He’s been likened to a young Andres Iniesta, and his scoring exploits are giving his countrymen and father something to cheer about, even as they watch Canada lose all four of its World Cup qualifying matches.
People didn’t understand Alphonso Davies. They looked at a kid with eyes closed from the moment he was born, as if he were a gift from the stars. His parents, Benjamine, who is from Ghana, and Ashley, who is from Liberia, had every reason to think that. Ashraful Davies had also been raised in Vancouver by white parents, and made the journey from Central Africa — the famous cougar spot of Ghana.
Alphonso Davies’ basketball background probably helped him get noticed by Adidas. The boy didn’t have a cleat until he was 10. But a photo of him standing against a wall after a basketball game showed off his remarkable footwork and shot selection. Adidas made him wear its uniform.
From that moment on, Davies was either being chased by or chased by Ghanaian legend and eight-time NBA champion Charles Barkley. Jennings had invited Davies to Atlanta for an open gym. That invitation took on a life of its own.
Ingles and others wanted Davies to come to Germany. He thought about it. Then he told Barkley that he wasn’t sure if he wanted to go.
Things did not really change. Adams kept Barkley company during games at a youth academy in Vancouver. He slept in his car at times. But in the morning he would drop Jennings at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto.