Reported deal to send Edmonton-raised soccer phenom to Bayern Munich not finalized: Whitecaps

Vancouver Whitecaps midfielder Alphonso Davies leaves the field after MLS soccer team practice in Vancouver on Monday, July 23, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Rumours continue to swirl about a deal that would send the teenage star of the Vancouver Whitecaps to an elite European soccer club, but teammates say Alphonso Davies isn’t letting success go to his head.

Recent reports suggest the 17-year-old midfielder is headed to German powerhouse Bayern Munich for a potential MLS record transfer fee.

Whitecaps coach Carl Robinson said Monday that an agreement had not yet been finalized.

Vancouver midfielder Russell Teibert said he couldn’t be happier for Davies, who he described as a great friend and teammate, and an outstanding person.

“It’s something like a fairy tale, to be honest, because every time he gets an opportunity, he steps up to the plate and he nails it and he hits out of the park,” he said. “And that’s tough to say for another 17-year-old in this country let alone the world.”

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Known for his blistering speed and uncanny ability to maintain control of the ball, Davies has been a star for the Whitecaps this season, posting three goals and eight assists in 20 games. He’s also scheduled to play in the MLS all-star game next month.

READ MORE: Edmonton teen Alphonso Davies joins MLS all-star team

Watch below: Watch: In June 2018, Canadian soccer star Alphonso Davies told FIFA World Congress about his dream ahead of 2026 World Cup vote.

Click to play video: 'Canadian soccer star Alphonso Davies tells FIFA World Congress of his dream ahead of 2026 World Cup vote'
Canadian soccer star Alphonso Davies tells FIFA World Congress of his dream ahead of 2026 World Cup vote

But the teen hasn’t let either success on the field or reports about his future swell his ego, Teibert said.

“He takes everything in stride and he’s so modest about who he is and what’s happening,” he said. “Any other person or kid would maybe act a different type of way. But he’s just the same Alphonso Davies and that speaks volumes to his character.”

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Davies was back at Whitecaps training on Monday, working on passing and dribbling drills on the sidelines while most of his teammates scrimmaged.

He missed training with his team last Friday and wasn’t present for the Whitecaps’ 2-0 loss in Seattle on Saturday, which dropped Vancouver to ninth place in the MLS Western Conference.

Robinson admitted that the team has missed having Davies on the field.

“He’s arguably been our best player this year,” he said. “It’s difficult because he’s a 17-year-old and there’s a lot of expectation and pressure on him. But he’s played with freedom and enjoyment.”

Losing Davies would be a blow for the Whitecaps, who have struggled recently, losing five of their last six matches.

View photos of Alphonso Davies in the gallery below:

Vancouver Whitecaps 15-year-old Alphonso Davies (67) breaks away from Toronto FC's Eriq Zavaleta during first half Canadian Cup action in Toronto on Tuesday June 21, 2016. The Vancouver Whitecaps are confident they can dig themselves out of another hole.The Whitecaps face Toronto FC on Wednesday night at BC Place with the Voyageurs Cup on the line. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
Alphonso Davies, 15, started playing soccer at a young age. Nathan Gross/Global News
Canada's Alphonso Davies (12) celebrates his goal against Costa Rica in the first half of a CONCACAF Gold Cup soccer match in Houston, Tuesday, July 11, 2017. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
Vancouver Whitecaps' Alphonso Davies, left, and Nicolas Mezquida celebrate Davies' goal against the Montreal Impact during first half semifinal Canadian Championship soccer action in Vancouver, B.C., on Tuesday May 23, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Canada's Alphonso Davies stretches during a practice Monday, June 12, 2017 in Montreal. Vancouver Whitecaps rising star Davies headlines a young Canadian squad for the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Canada's Alphonso Davies clears the ball away from Curacao's Gevaro Nepomuceno during second half of a friendly match, in Montreal on Tuesday, June 13, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
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File photo. BC Place and local pus are gearing up for fans to sweep into the city for game 1 of the MLS Western Conference Semifinals on Sunday. Darryl Dyck / The Canadian Press
Like others in MLS, Toronto FC has taken notice of Vancouver Whitecaps teenager Alphonso Davies. Davies celebrates his goal during first half CONCACAF Champions League quarter-final soccer action against the New York Red Bulls, in Vancouver in a March 2, 2017, file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Philadelphia Union's Fabian Herbers, back, is pushed off the ball by Vancouver Whitecaps' Matias Laba (15) as Alphonso Davies (67) watches during the first half of an MLS soccer game in Vancouver, B.C., on Sunday March 5, 2017. It's very early in the season but the Vancouver Whitecaps have already made strides to tighten up their defensive play. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Alphonso Davies of Canada speaks at the FIFA congress on the eve of the opener of the 2018 soccer World Cup in Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, June 13, 2018. The congress in Moscow is set to choose the host or hosts for the 2026 World Cup. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
Philadelphia Union's Fabinho, right, shoves Vancouver Whitecaps' Alphonso Davies off the ball during the second half of an MLS soccer game in Vancouver, B.C., on Sunday March 5, 2017. Liberian-born Edmonton-raised midfielder Davies has been one of the bright spots for the Vancouver Whitecaps early in the Major Soccer League season. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
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Vancouver Whitecaps midfielder Alphonso Davies leaves the field after MLS soccer team practice in Vancouver on Monday, July 23, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver Whitecaps' Fredy Montero, front left, Tim Parker, back left, and Alphonso Davies celebrate Montero's goal against the New York Red Bulls during second half CONCACAF Champions League quarter-final soccer action in Vancouver, B.C., on Thursday, March 2, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Other members of the team need to up their game, Teibert said.

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“You can’t replace a kid like that. He’s a wonder kid. But we need to fill in for him,” he said. “We need guys all around the field. We don’t just need one person to fill in, we need 11 guys. We need leaders, we need people to step up to the plate.”

Over the past two months, Davies has shown “rapid improvement,” a result of spending more than two years developing with the team, Robinson said.

The Whitecaps brought Davies into their residency program when he was 15. He had been living with his family in Edmonton, where they had settled after immigrating from a refugee camp in Ghana. Davies was born in the camp after his parents fled the Liberian civil war.

READ MORE: Teen soccer star from Edmonton turns heads with Vancouver Whitecaps

Watch below: On March 25, 2016, Julia Wong profiled teenaged Edmonton soccer player Alphonso Davies, At the time, he had been selected for Canada’s U-20 soccer team, but his story began in war-torn Liberia.

Click to play video: 'From civil war in Liberia to Canada’s U-20 soccer team'
From civil war in Liberia to Canada’s U-20 soccer team

He received his Canadian citizenship in July 2017 and was called up to play on the men’s national team soon after.

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READ MORE: Teen soccer star from Edmonton impresses in history making debut for Team Canada

At the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup, Davies became the youngest player to ever score for team Canada and the youngest goalscorer in the tournament’s history. He took home the Gold Boot and Best Young Player honours from the event.

“The boy’s got potential. We know that. He’s developed into a wonderful player,” Robinson said.

Playing in Europe would give Davies an opportunity to compete with world-class players and get “fantastic coaching,” he added.

Whitecaps defender Marcel de Jong played in both the Netherlands and Germany, and said his young teammate is sure to face some culture shock overseas.

“Soccer is a religion. Six, seven, eight, nine newspapers every day writing about you, criticizing you after every game,” de Jong said. “So you have to be mentally prepared for that. But he’s a good boy …. he’s got a good head on his shoulders so he’ll be fine.”

Heading to Europe will be a natural progression for Davies, Robinson said, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be hard for those he leaves behind.

“Will I be sad? 100 per cent. He’s like one of my own,” the coach said.


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