It was an emotional scene at Vancouver’s B.C. Place Stadium on Sunday, where budding star Alphonso Davies suited up for his final mach as a Vancouver Whitecap.
The 17-year-old Edmonton-raised soccer phenomenon is heading to FC Bayern Munich next year, after the Whitecaps signed a record US$22 million transfer deal in July.
Davies led the club onto the pitch Sunday for the last time, where he was joined by his entire family on the sidelines for a special presentation in his honour.
WATCH: Free Footie founder proud of Edmonton soccer star Alphonso Davies: ‘This kid was something special’
“Vancouver, you took me in when I as just a kid,” Davies said in a video played to fans. “I was only 14; I didn’t know if I would make it. But you believed in me, you challenged me, you gave me an opportunity to play the sport I would love and realize my dream of becoming a professional footballer, and for that I’ll be forever grateful.”
“These have been the best three years of my life. Every time I step on the field for this great club I try to give my all and play with a smile on my face. And you supported me every single time. I heard you every single time. You’ll always be a part of my story.”
As if in thanks to his grateful fans, Davies put on a show — scoring two goals in a three minute span before halftime.
Fans at the match against the Portland Timbers were invited to sign a giant postcard for the departing star, and fan organization the Vancouver Southsiders planned a minute of applause for Davies in the 67th minute of the game — a recognition of his #67 jersey number.
Davies — known to teammates and club staff as Phonzie — joined the ‘Caps residency program in 2015, where he developed and worked his way into the club’s starting lineup where he’s now known for his speed and ball control.
WATCH: Whitecaps ink US$22-million deal for teen soccer star Alphonso Davies
At age 16 he made his debut for the Canadian National Team, becoming the youngest player to ever score for the squad at the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup, as well as the youngest player ever to score in the tournament.
Davies was awarded the Golden Boot and Best Young Player honours for his efforts.
Davies has racked up 18 points in 64 league games, including 11 assists and six goals this season.
The young star was born in a refugee camp in Ghana, where his parents had fled from the Liberian civil war. They later emigrated to Canada, where they settled in Edmonton and Davies got his start in Canadian soccer.
He could get a chance to play there once again, when the World Cup comes to Canada as a part of the successful 2026 North American United Bid. Edmonton is on the shortlist of Canadian cities to host matches.
— With files from the Canadian Press