Alphonso Davies - best Canadian Soccer Player of All Time?

Image of Alphonso Davies Canadian Soccer Player

Jet-heeled, twinkle-toed, assister-in-chief—there are many things you can label soccer star Alphonso Davies. But the mantle of Canada's greatest - ever player at his tender age? That's a pretty big statement.

However, it says something about the impact Davies has had in his young career that it isn't even a controversial topic among many soccer fans in Canada.

That's because his rise and rise to become one of the best left backs in the world has been quite remarkable.

From his time as a young boy in Buduburam, a refugee camp in Ghana, to starring for the Vancouver Whitecaps as the second youngest player to play in MLS, all the way to Bayern Munich and the Canadian national team, we take a look at his statistics, compare him to other Canadian greats, and see where he ranks.

Quick Fact File

Where Is Alphonso Davies From: Liberia

Age When Making Debut: 15

Alphonso Davies Team: Bayern Munich

Attributes: Pace, skill, athleticism

Alphonso Davies Position: Full Back

The Stone-Cold Numbers

Sometimes, it's hard to believe the Alphonso Davies age (23), given all he's achieved in the game so far.

Before we lay out the numbers in their bold, unfriendly form, it's worth noting that his current team, Bayern Munich, employ him as a full-back, while for Canada, his creative instincts are utilised further forward.

Here's his current outlay as of 16th April, 2024:

Club Level

  • Matches: 288
  • Goals: 23
  • Assists: 45

National Team

  • Matches: 45
  • Goals: 15
  • Assists: 18

As we can see, Davies has a goal involvement more than every other game with his national team (73.33%), while at club level, he contributes in an attacking sense just 23.61% of the time.

However, the underlying attributes paint a different picture. For example, in the 2021-2022 Bundesliga season, he ranked in the top ten for a number of key metrics.

They include:

  • Progressive Carries (Carries that move the ball towards the opponent's goal line at least 10 yards from its furthest point in the last six passes, or any carry into the penalty area): 3rd
  • Progressive Carrying Distance (Total distance, in yards, a player moved the ball while controlling it with their feet towards the opponent's goal): 5th
  • Carries Into The Penalty Area (see Progressive Carries glossary definition): 7th

Put simply, when he gets going, he's difficult to stop. Those ball-carrying figures aptly sum up what he's all about—getting his team as far up the field as possible, as quickly as possible. Indeed, Alphonso Davies' top speed has been clocked as 37.1 km/h, which made him the quickest player in the Champions League during the 2022/2023 season.

Where Does It Rank Him In Canada's All-Time List?

Now to the crux of the article.

We know Davies stacks up well against some of the best full-backs in the world and can also compete at the elite level as a forward. But are there any other Canadian players out there that have been anywhere close to his level?

Here are three of his closest rivals:

Julian de Guzman

The first-ever Canadian soccer player to set foot in La Liga, de Guzman is a trendsetter in more ways than one.

No other player had received more national team call-ups (89) for Canada than the midfielder until 2021, when Atiba Hutchinson broke the record.

He came to prominence in Europe for Hannover 96 before building his career on the Iberian peninsula with Deportivo La Coruna.

A stylish holding midfielder with an eye for a pass and a penchant for a tackle, de Guzman had a few famous moments in the Maple Leaf red. In the opening match of the 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup, he scored twice to help his team overcome Costa Rica. His performance was part of a wider set of impressive displays during that summer, leading to him being named MVP of the tournament.

A legend of Canadian football and one that deserves to be in the conversation!

Club Level

  • Matches: 322
  • Goals: 6
  • Assists: 17

National Team

  • Matches: 89
  • Goals: 4
  • Assists: 0

Scott Arfield

Despite being born in Dechmont, Scotland, Arfield qualifies for the Canadian national team because his father was born in Toronto.

Rising through the Falkirk academy, he made a name for himself at Burnley, helping them to promotion from the Championship into the Premier League, where he became a mainstay in a side that solidified top tier status.

In 2018, he sealed a move to Rangers, memorably scoring his first and only professional hat-trick against Motherwell. In 2023, he moved to Charlotte, in what looks set to be the final team of his long career.

For Canada, he was named captain ahead of the team's Nations League campaign in 2018 - and scored two goals in 19 appearances in what was ultimately an underwhelming international career before retiring from international duty in 2022 ahead of the World Cup.

While he didn't have the impact he would have perhaps liked, Arfield is in the conversation for best Canadian player of all time because of his extensive career in the Premier League. A lung-busting, box-to-box midfielder, Arfield suited the sort of industry Canada required to match-up against more talented opponents.

But is he at Alphonso Davies' level? Absolutely not.

Club Level

  • Matches: 544
  • Goals: 72
  • Assists: 36

National Team

  • Matches: 16
  • Goals: 1
  • Assists: 1

Craig Forrest

No goalkeeper has made more appearances for Canada—that alone is worthy of putting the former Ipswich and West Ham stalwart on the list.

However, it was his performance at the 2000 CONCACAF Gold Cup, where Canada upset the odds to become champions, that has won the hearts and minds of many Canadian fans. He saved two crucial penalties on his way to winning the tournament's Most Valuable Player (MVP) award.

Despite an extremely creditable career at the top level domestically and internationally, we can't consider mentioning Forrest in the same breath as Davies.

Club Level

  • Matches: 307
  • Goals: N/A
  • Assists: N/A

National Team

  • Matches: 56
  • Goals: N/A
  • Assists: N/A

The Verdict?

Alphonso Davies is the best Canadian player in the team right now, and the best that's ever worn the deep red.

He's a serious talent, touted by the world's biggest clubs, and has the stats to back up his superstardom. He will be a mainstay of the Canadian team for years to come.

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Last updated on: 02.05.2024

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