VANCOUVER, BC – On Sunday afternoon at BC Place, Alphonso Davies will say goodbye to the city of Vancouver. And the city of Vancouver will say goodbye to Alphonso Davies, who will play his final Major League Soccer match before joining Bundesliga giants FC Bayern Munich in January.
It’s sure to be an emotional occasion for Davies, his parents (who are making the trip from Edmonton), and everyone else in attendance. After all, this is a kid we saw grow up right in front of our eyes.
We saw him arrive in Vancouver at age 14 – eyes wide open.
We saw him get braces and learn how to drive.
We saw him become the youngest goalscorer in the history of the United Soccer League, Concacaf Champions League, Concacaf Gold Cup, Canadian national team, and Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
We saw him play in an MLS All-Star Game.
We saw him get sworn in as a Canadian citizen and deliver a heartfelt speech to the soccer world about his journey from a refugee camp in Ghana.
We saw him wear the Maple Leaf with pride.
And we saw him do it all with a smile on his face.
“I think it’s right at the heart of a story that captivates our country,” said Canadian men’s national team head coach John Herdman. “It’s a country that accepts all. Having been an immigrant myself, it’s a country that embraces people from all sorts of backgrounds … I think it resonates with people in Canada because they see a kid that they’ve helped on a journey. They can be part of his journey now.”
On Sunday, there will surely be feelings of sadness. Saying goodbye is never easy.
But most of all, there should be feelings of pride.
“This kid, this Canadian kid, did it,” said Whitecaps FC midfielder Russell Teibert in a video produced by MLS. “He made it.”
And this is where it all started.
There was a buzz in BC Place every time Davies picked up steam and ran at defenders with the ball at his feet. You just knew something was going to happen. Something special.
Although Davies is leaving, his legacy will certainly live on.
“He’s added something to this Academy. You’re not just reaching for the first team, you’re literally reaching for the stars,” said Teibert, an Academy graduate himself. “There’s no ceiling on what you can do. And he’s proved that to all these kids that flow through this system. They’re going to want to be the next Alphonso Davies story. All it takes is someone to trigger that. He’s triggered that for a lot of kids, not only in Vancouver but across Canada.”
You’ll forever be one of our own.
Kickoff for Sunday's match vs. Portland Timbers is set for 1:30 p.m. PT at BC Place (TSN1, TSN 1040, tickets still available).