VANCOUVER, BC - Vancouver Whitecaps FC confirmed on Tuesday that Homegrown midfielder Alphonso Davies received his Canadian citizenship earlier today and subsequently earned his first Canadian men's national team call-up.
“It’s a great honour to be able to call myself a Canadian citizen,” Davies said. “First of all, I am thankful to Canada Soccer and Whitecaps FC for their tremendous support throughout this process. Not many people can say they’re a Canadian citizen, knowing that it’s one of the best countries in the world. I’m very proud that I’m one of those people. I’m also extremely thankful to my parents for everything they’ve done throughout the years, carrying the family to this safe environment. This is our home. This is where I grew up. And now to have the opportunity to represent the men's national team is a great honour.”
Davies, 16, will now join Whitecaps FC teammates Marcel de Jong and Russell Teibert for the national team camp in Montreal, Quebec, which includes a June 13 international friendly versus Curaçao at Stade Saputo. It was also announced on Tuesday that Davies has been named to Canada's 40-man provisional roster for the upcoming Gold Cup.
Davies was born in Buduburam, a refugee camp in Gomoa East District in the central region of Ghana, to Liberian parents who took refuge in Ghana after fleeing the Liberian civil war. When Davies was five years old, his family moved to Windsor, Ontario in 2006 before settling in Edmonton, Alberta one year later. Prior to joining the Whitecaps FC Residency program, Davies played with Edmonton Internazionale, Edmonton Strikers, St. Nicholas Soccer Academy, and a brief training stint with FC Edmonton Academy.
"I’m proud of him," said Alphonso's mother Victoria. "If I look back, where we came from, refugee camp, no food, no clothes, and where we are today. He has everything that he needs.”
"This is his home," added Alphonso's father Debeah. "He wanted to become a citizen and play for Canada ... I'm proud of him and I love him."
Davies first represented his adopted home country at age 13 in a Canada Soccer U-15 identification camp in October 2014. Last year, the midfielder started for Canada's U-20 side in their 2-1 win over England in March and scored one goal and assisted on another while captaining Canada's U-17 team in their 3-0 friendly win over Jamaica in November. For his efforts, Davies was recognized as the Canadian U-17 Player of the Year.
At the club level with Whitecaps FC, Davies has registered four goals and two assists in 14 starts and 32 matches across all competitions since making his first team debut on June 1, 2016 in last year's Canadian Championship semifinal. Over the last year, he has become the youngest player to score a goal in the CONCACAF Champions League, Canadian Championship, and United Soccer League.
Davies signed an MLS contract in July 2016 after starting out with the club's Residency program in August 2015, while also featuring for Whitecaps FC 2 in the 2016 USL season. “We need to continue developing Alphonso on a daily basis,” said Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson. “The football side is important, but when you find a place where you’re happy and you’re settled and you feel warmth – and the Canadian people certainly give you warmth here in the country – that’s very important too. I think Alphonso and his parents have found this and now call this home. Where else would you want to be? Canada is a perfect place.”
The men's national team roster will be trimmed down on June 9 after an intra-squad match, with only 18-20 players dressing for the international match on June 13. After the friendly, Canada Soccer will announce their squad for the CONCACAF Gold Cup in mid-June.
Whitecaps FC are on bye this week. Davies, de Jong, and Teibert will return from international duty in time for the 'Caps next match, when they host FC Dallas at BC Place on June 17. Visit whitecapsfc.com for tickets.