Teenage soccer star will soon lead Canada into World Cup qualifying
Jesse Campigotto · CBC Sports · Aug 24, 2020
Alphonso Davies made Canadian soccer history
Canada’s breakout soccer star, 19-year-old Alphonso Davies, is now the first member of Canada’s national team to play for — and win — the coveted Champions League as a member of the victorious German team Bayern Munich. Davies, born in a refugee camp in Ghana, has become an inspiration to a new generation of Canadian soccer fans
The 19-year-old rising star from Edmonton became the first Canadian international to win a UEFA Champions League title by helping Germany’s Bayern Munich to a 1-0 victory over Paris Saint-Germain in yesterday’s final. Calgary-born-and-raised Owen Hargreaves is the only other Canadian to play in (and win) club soccer’s most prestigious match. He won the Champions League final with Bayern in 2001 and Manchester United in ’08. But Hargreaves never played for Canada internationally, opting to represent England instead.
Davies, who was born in a refugee camp in Ghana to Liberian parents before moving to Canada when he was five, played for various Canadian youth national teams before moving up to the senior squad when he was only 16. Bayern bought him from Major League Soccer’s Vancouver Whitecaps two years ago, and he blossomed into a full-fledged star in stunningly short order this season. Attacking opposing defences with eye-popping speed and agility from his left-back position, Davies was named the German league’s rookie of the year. After playing a key role in Bayern’s run to the Champions League title — including this jaw-dropping run to set up a goal in the quarter-finals vs. Barcelona — Davies is considered one of the very best young players in the entire world. He might already be the best Canadian men’s player of all time.
You won’t have to wait long to see Davies back in action. Because the conclusion of the 2019-20 season was pushed back so much due to the pandemic, there’s only a short break until the start of the next one. Bayern has a German Cup match on Sept. 11, and it opens the new Bundesliga season on Sept. 18.
Three weeks after that, Davies will lead the Canadian national team into the first round of regional qualifying for the 2022 World Cup. Canada needs to win its group to advance, but it’s by far the top-ranked team in a weak set. Canada’s first match is Oct. 7 vs. Bermuda, then Oct. 11 vs. the Cayman Islands. The final two matches are in mid-November vs. Aruba and Suriname. If Canada advances, it’ll play a home-and-home set against the winner of Group E — likely Haiti, which is closer to Canada in the world rankings. The winner of that matchup advances to the final round to face the other two second-round winners and the top five teams in the region — Mexico, the U.S., Costa Rica, Jamaica and Honduras. The teams with the three best records qualify for the World Cup, and the fourth-place team earns another shot to make it via an intercontinental playoff.
Canada hasn’t qualified for the men’s World Cup since 1986, and it’s still a longshot for 2022. But with Davies and star 20-year-old striker Jonathan David leading the way, the future is bright and the present just got a lot more interesting.
. Source: CBC News