MUNICH — Canadian international Alphonso Davies says his family's trials have left their mark, but in a good way.
The experiences taught the 19-year-old budding Bayern Munich star to make the best out of situations.
"I've always been like that, it's in my character," he told "51," Bayern's official club magazine. "Life is too short to be angry or sad for long.
"I think it runs in my family. We went through tough times when I was very young and I'm so infinitely grateful to my parents. Their journey began during the civil war in Liberia and we came to Canada via Ghana. I'm in the happy situation where I can say I can enjoy every single day of my life."
Davies, who came to Canada with his family when he was five, knows not everyone can say that.
"Yes, I'm afraid that's true," he said. "And that's why you just have to be grateful because there are lots of people in the world who aren't so well off.
"I know that there are other sides to life. All the more reason why I now try to convey to the people out there how important it is to feel a sense of joy. I try to do that on the soccer pitch and also off it, and that includes in a few video clips (on social media)."
Davies said he grew up quickly, having to look after the family when his parents worked in shifts in Edmonton.
"You'll move from big brother to the adult world faster by cooking food for your younger siblings while your peers are playing video games," he said. "My dad had to go to work at 4 a.m. and got back around 2 p.m. My mum worked from 10 p.m. to 8 a.m.
"Every day before I went to school, I'd already looked after my siblings. In the evenings, I often put them to bed. It was a hard time, but at the same time we were doing very well. We were happy. My family is everything for me."
As a consequence, Davies says he wants to be "an inspiration to lots and lots of children."
"We came to Canada as refugees from Africa and worked hard for everything we have," he told the magazine. "I think my life can show people that a lot is possible if you stay true to yourself and don't let yourself be led astray.
"When children all over the world see me playing and hear the story behind it, it's nice to imagine them drawing motivation from it and developing the courage to work on their own dreams as well."
Davies says his father helped keeps his feet on the ground.
"When I told him on the phone about my first goal for Bayern, he said: 'Oh, really? You play for Bayern now? That's how he is, he's always like that," said Davies. "Like I said, I think it's important not to take yourself too seriously."
This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 3, 2020.