Canadian soccer star Alphonso Davies, a former refugee, helping raise funds for UN relief


Canadian soccer star Alphonso Davies says his message to young players is “just be themselves.”

“Every time they step on the field, play hard and know how to play with a smile on your face because when you play with a smile on your face, that’s when you play your best,” he told a Bayern Munich video news conference Tuesday. “Don’t worry about what’s going happen, just be in the moment, enjoy it.”

The 19-year-old from Edmonton said he welcomes being a role model to young kids and wants to put his platform to good use.

Davies joined AC Milan goalkeeper Asmir Begovic, who like Davies came to Canada as a refugee, in a soccer video-game contest on the weekend to raise COVID-19 relief funds for the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), a UN agency with the mandate to protect and help refugees.

Asked about playing real games behind closed doors because of the global pandemic, Davies said “if it happens, it’s just going to be different.”

“The fans are part of us but it’s for the safety of everyone, I guess. So I don’t really mind it,” he added.

Bundesliga teams are back training, under physical distancing conditions, and the league hopes to restart in May.

Davies signed a new deal earlier this month that will keep the Canadian international with the German powerhouse through 2025.

WATCH | Davies’ goal sparks Canada upset over U.S.:

Teenage sensation Alphonso Davies scored in Canada’s 2-0 win over the United States in Toronto. 1:17

Asked about his progress at left back, Davies deflected the praise.

“On a personal standpoint I’m proud of my achievement but I think right now it’s all because of the team I’m with. The team is playing well. Everyone’s playing well. And I also have a world-class left back (David Alaba) next to me, helping me out as well.”

Alaba, an Austrian international, has shifted to central defender at Bayern.

A former winger, Davies says he is enjoying playing left back and doesn’t anticipate changing positions.

He said his German is “coming along” but will require a lot more lessons to perfect the language.

He said the player he looked up to the most is Lionel Messi, with Cristiano Ronaldo another top talent.

Quizzed on fellow Canadian Jonathan David, Davies said the high-scoring Gent forward “has a lot of qualities.”

David has been linked with a move to Germany from Belgium.

“I think if he moved over here there’d be no problem for him to play at this level,” Davies said.

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