In a time when so many of us in Edmonton are struggling to get up in the morning, after months and months of lockdowns and general COVID fatigue, maybe, just maybe, the story of Alphonso Davies is the fairy tale we all need.
On Wednesday, Davies was selected to be a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). He is both the first pro soccer player and first Canadian to ever be given this title.
“Alphonso Davies personifies the power of sport and we are truly honoured to have him joining us,” Filippo Grandi, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, was quoted in a release. “Sport has the incredible power to bring hope, to heal and to help shape the future for those forced to flee. In our work with refugees we see daily what uplifting difference sports can make in their lives. His personal story, his talent and triumph as a professional footballer and his commitment to help refugees is impressive. I am looking forward to working with him.”
Davies was born in Ghana, in a refugee camp. His parents had fled Liberia, a nation torn by years of civil war. His family came to Canada when he was five, and Davies soon became an Edmonton soccer sensation. As a teenager, he was brought into the Vancouver Whitecaps system, before eventually being sold to European powerhouse Bayern Munich. He is now regarded as one of the best fullbacks on the planet. He’s won the Champions League and German titles with Bayern. He’s currently with the Canadian national team, as the squad finally looks to start the qualifying process for the 2022 World Cup. Canada plays Bermuda Thursday (tomorrow) and the Cayman Islands this Sunday.
“I want people to know about the importance of helping refugees, wherever they are, in camps or cities, in neighbouring countries or countries of resettlement such as Canada,” Davies was quoted in the UN release. “Refugees need our support to survive, but also access to education and sports, so they can fulfil their potential and truly thrive.”