A pair of Canadian athletes at the top of their respective sports have made their friendship public the only way they know how: with a jersey swap.
Arizona Cardinals rookie linebacker Jesse Luketa was in Munich, Germany on Wednesday to watch Bayern Munich defeat Paris Saint-Germain by a score of 2-0 in the UEFA Champions League Round of 16. After the game, he took to the field and swapped signed uniforms with Canadian soccer superstar Alphonso Davies.
The two have apparently cultivated a friendship over the last couple of years, connecting over their shared backgrounds. Luketa’s family immigrated to Canada from the Democratic Republic of Congo and was born in Edmonton, Alta., later moving to Ottawa, Ont. Davies was born in Ghana after his family fled Liberia, eventually settling in Edmonton. He moved to Vancouver, B.C. at the age of 15 to pursue his soccer career, while Luketa left home at 14 to attend high school in Erie, Penn. to fulfill his football dreams.
Luketa was drafted by the Cardinals with the 256th pick in the seventh round of the 2022 NFL Draft following an outstanding collegiate career at Penn State. He made the team’s practice squad out of training camp but was elevated to the active roster in Week 4. Luketa has since taken snaps in five games, making one tackle.
Davies began his career with the Vancouver Whitecaps of the MLS before being acquired by Bayern Munich in 2018. The 22-year-old has since made 144 appearances for the Bundesliga powerhouse, scoring seven goals and establishing himself as one of the best fullbacks in the world. He has also become the heartbeat of Canada’s resurgent men’s national team, helping the team qualify for their second-ever World Cup berth and scoring the country’s first-ever goal at the event.
The two elite Canadian athletes share a deep mutual respect, as evidenced by Luketa’s personal message to Davies scrawled on the back of his jersey.
Two kids from a place they said we’d never be able to achieve the heights we’ve reached! Keep battling the odds!
Much love! My Brudda! Jesse Luketa