By Bruce Penton
The soccer world is waiting to see just how good Edmonton’s Alphonso Davies might become.
The 19-year-old phenom is already known as one of the best players in the world, but is he Gretzky good? Is he a Tiger Woods-level talent? Or will he level off and become a mid-size star in the realm of Steve Yzerman?
Davies won’t be 20 years old until this November, but already his credentials on the world soccer stage are immense. In June, he was named Bundesliga (German Premier League) rookie of the year after making a big splash for league champion Bayern Munich. The German team was expecting big things from Davies after paying a Major League Soccer record $22 million transfer fee to secure his playing rights from Vancouver Whitecaps.
It’s hard to nail down what makes Davies, a left fullback, such a pitch power, but one of his major strengths is his speed. He performs magical things with the ball while moving at a pace faster than most of his team-mates or opponents, similar to the advantage Connor McDavid enjoys on the ice.
Thanks to data that began to be collected in 2011, Davies was clocked running with the ball at 36.51 km/h in a game this season, breaking the former record of 36.19.
In a Canadian Press story, veteran forward Thomas Muller referred to Davies as “The Bayern Road Runner” because of his blazing speed.
“If his development continues like this, he certainly has the potential to become one of the best in the world in his position,” said Bayern reserve-team coach Sebastian Hoene.
Davies, born in Ghana, arrived in Edmonton as a five-year-old after his parents fled the Liberian civil war. He started playing soccer in a league for youngsters who couldn’t afford registration fees, equipment or transportation to games.
It wasn’t long before his talent shone through. He was 14 when the Whitecaps added him to the roster of their professional feeder team and by the age of 16 he was playing for the Canadian men’s national team.
How high is Davies’ ceiling? According to a recent Gentleman’s Quarterly report, the young phenom is among the top 10 footballers in the world. His new transfer value, according to GQ, is $218 million, ninth-highest.
• Comedy writer Brad Dickson of Omaha: “Baseball is going to return. In these times we live in it’s gonna be different of course. For example, instead of encouraging shortstops and second basemen to speak English now everyone else on the team must speak Spanish.”
• Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times: “Sheila Ford Hamp, 69, has replaced her mother, 94-year-old Martha Firestone Ford, as Detroit Lions owner and chairperson. In other words, the Lions traded in their 1925 Ford for a 1951 model.”
• From fark.com: “Astros owner wants fans in the stands so he can sell overpriced watered down cold beer”
• Patti Dawn Swansson, aka the River City Renegade: “I once saw a monkey figure out a Rubik’s Cube, but I’ll wager that the same smart-ass monkey couldn’t figure out the NHL draft lottery process.”
• Swansson again, on attempts by major league sports to resume playing: “I’m more excited to see toilet paper back on the shelves than shinny on the ice, hoops on the hardwood, and rounders in the ballyard.”
• Greg Cote of the Miami Herald: “Vince Carter has retired after 22 NBA seasons, surprising analysts who thought he’d retired around 2012.”
• Josh Sens of golf.com, on the PGA Tour’s efforts to play tournament golf while keeping COVID-19 at bay: “If not everyone is abiding by the protocols, it’s like having a peeing section in a pool.”
• Janice Hough of leftcoastsportsbabe.com: “Washington Redskins have announced they will conduct ‘a thorough review of the team name.’ Since Nike, FedEx and Pepsi have all indicated they could end relationships with Washington over the current name, presume the review is being done by the team’s accountants.”
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