MLS- D.C. United

Davies ready to complete long road back

CharlieDaviesDC (ISIPhotos.com)

Photo by Tony Quinn/ISIphotos.com


The bone-chilling details of Charlie Davies' story have been rehashed, dissected and analyzed on television and radio shows, in newspapers and all over the Internet.

Fans fumed when he was left off the United States national team roster for the World Cup, even though it became evident that he wasn't close to the fitness or form necessary to compete on the highest level of international play.

He bided his time with the FC Sochaux reserves while all the tangible evidence the American public had of his recovery were his own post-game tweets and a report of an unfortunate run-in with the French police.

At some point on Saturday night, we will have new material to work. After 17 difficult months, Davies is finally ready to have the focus turned to his on-field actions in games that matter.

Saturday's D.C. United-Columbus Crew match should mark Davies' first regular-season, first-team, competitive action since the car accident that changed his life forever in October of 2009. The driver in that accident was sentenced to two years in prison on Friday, and the symbolism of the timing is beyond striking.

As we all know, Davies was supposed to be in uniform for the U.S. national team at RFK Stadium the night after the accident in a World Cup qualifier against Costa Rica. That opportunity was nullified after Davies' decision to break curfew, a decision for which he has since apologized and vocalized regret repeatedly.

As Davies sets out to start the next chapter of his life and professional soccer career, he can pick up from where the height of his playing days were left behind — Washington, D.C. The page can be turned, though not forgotten, from the chapter that has come to define him.

Before we skip to the climax of Davies' comeback story arc, though, let's allow the natural progression to take its course.

His play in the preseason has earned mixed, yet potential-filled, reviews from pundits, teammates and coaches alike. His goal in the Carolina Challenge Cup was well taken, and there have been glimpses of the "old Charlie" mixed in with moments that remind us what he has had to overcome to regain the physical strength, let alone in-game aptitude, required for a top-of-the-line pro. 

Davies has always been the first to raise the bar for himself. He's a furious competitor, he wants to succeed at the highest level and he's driven by the quest to reach the top of the striker options in Bob Bradley's player pool.

As the track record of his work ethic and fierce drive shows, he's likely to get there eventually.

For the time being, how do we measure success for Davies? Is it his goal total? The number of minutes he plays? The first time he displays that speed-finishing combination that made U.S. national team fans dream big?

However success is measured for Davies, what he does in his first match won't determine the value of his comeback. It will simply be the first step in a new journey. The journey to get back to the Charlie of old.

  • Grubbsbl

    Any goal total should be taken with a grain of salt. DC United is coming off a season of record impotence in front of the goal. I believe DC had one of the worst ever season totals for goals scored. Yes, the roster is much improved but as we saw last year, preseason from doesn’t naturally correlate with actual form. There is still the chance DC may struggle to create chances. Hopefully the addition of Dax and a preseason with our DP will improve the midfield but that remains to be seen. Rather than setting a goal total, we as fans should simply evaluate him based on his overal contribution to the game. What is his first touch like? How is his speed? Is he confident to take players on? Can he beat players if he does take them on? And if given the chance, how is his finishing? I say in a few weeks, once we have a better view on Davies and DC, we can put a realistic tally for goals on the table.


  • inkedAG

    I’m happy for him and I wish him every bit of success. All I ask is that when he plays RBNY, he doesn’t score. 🙂


  • jonk

    Minor point (and certainly not meant as an excuse for his behavior), but I keep seeing it over and over lately: Davies was NOT “supposed to be in uniform for the U.S. national team at RFK Stadium the night after the accident in a World Cup qualifier against Costa Rica.” He was nursing a groin strain.

    Anyway, even as a Portland supporter I’ll be watching him closely this season and rooting for him to put one in the back of the net at RFK as soon as possible.

    (SBI-How do you know he wouldn’t have been in uniform? He could have dressed anyway? Last time I checked Bob Bradley never said Davies wouldn’t be on the bench, or in uniform. Fact is we don’t really know because nothing was ever said about the injury, so as far as anybody outside the team knew heading into that game, Davies was going to be in uniform.)


  • Don Pelayo

    And a man named “Al” stepped forward from the rabble, prepared to cast the first stone…


  • TJPierce

    I think the best thing to do is forget about “the Charlie of old” and be pleasantly surprised by anything CD can offer at this point. I will be the first to say congratulations when CD9 can make it back into the national team picture, but trying to hold him up to standards he established before all that happened to him is unfair.


  • Kevin

    In the interview with FSC that was posted on this very site, Davies said it himself that he was not going to be playing in that game.

    (SBI-Again, doesn’t mean he wouldn’t have dressed. Players who everyone knows won’t be playing in a game can still DRESS FOR THE GAME. Not that tough to understand.)


  • r.benjamin

    I think:

    * If he’s a resular starter by season end, thats a success.

    * If he’s an MLS caliber All Star next year, thats a success.

    * If by 2014 he is in the USMNT pool and looking to go back to Europe. That’s a success.


  • Brett

    I hope he explodes and becomes the new face of MLS for a year or two before triumphantly returning to Europe.

    I’m not a DCU fan, but I’ll be rooting for Davies in every game.

    He may never be what he could have been, but hopefully his injury will benefit his game in other ways as he compensates for not having the burst and change of direction he once had. I think he still has loads of potential and his technique, which gets overshadowed because of his raw speed, should return in no time.


  • tnnelson

    no, i’ve seen an interview with him where he said the only reason he decided to stay out that night was because he knew he wouldn’t be suiting up. he was out to dinner with Stu Holden and those two girls, and when they offered to go out, Stu went home because he knew he was dressing for the game, but Charlie knew for sure that he wouldn’t be playing, so he stayed out a little later

    (SBI-I’ve talked to Charlie about that night and don’t remember him being THAT definitive about having no plans to be on the bench for that game. The fact is he trained that day, the day of the accident. If he was definitely not playing or dressing then wouldn’t he have headed back to France right after the Honduras friendly? Why go to D.C. for a game he was never going to play in? Given the festive atmosphere that was expected for that game, what with the USA already having clinched and it being more of a party than an intense qualifier, why would Davies definitely not have been on the bench if he was going to stay in town rather than go back to France?

    And for some of you, I never shy away from a debate or discussion. I know there’s a small number of folks who for some reason can’t take it when I get into debates with readers, seeing it as me being aggressive or a pushy with my readers. I’ll say this. Am I not allowed to debate like everybody else? I’m not taking any of this stuff THAT serious. Anyone taking it for more than it is needs to relax. I’ll take heart in knowing that plenty of people appreciate the interaction.)


  • x4

    Yeah, but SBI, come on. It’s a World Cup Qualifier, not a friendly…limited spots on the bench. Bob wasn’t going to put anyone on the bench who couldn’t play. Not when it still meant something. (Winning the group, as I recall.)

    And players not on the bench for the game, considering that there was absolutely no way they’d be in the game, wouldn’t be dressed. The US Team has always done it that way…remember the pre-World Cup friendly that Bocanegra, Demerit, and others watched from a skybox in suits? Come on. I agree it’s a minor point, but to freak out at commenters for that? Weak.

    (SBI-Who’s freaking out exactly? Can’t I state my case in a debate ever without some random person insisting I’m “freaking out” That, my friend, is “weak”. If someone I’m debating with tells me they feel like I’ve been too rough, then I’ll gladly back off and apologize, but without fail it’s never the people I’m actually having exchanges with that have a problem. It’s always some random observer who thinks it’s their duty to tell me how to interact with my readers (and 90 percent of the time it’s someone who has never once commented on the site before). You’re one of that ten percent who is a regular, which is why I’ve chosen to respond to you.)


  • abc

    Well, that statement doesn’t really require hindsight, only basic common sense.

    But still it was not a very useful comment for Al to make, because everyone should already know this, CD9 most of all since his stupidity almost cost him his soccer career.


  • x4

    Fair enough, but you have to realize that I’m not just referring to this one point. I’m sure that you do know more about this situation than anyone here, since you actually talked to Davies about these specific events. And me using “weak” and “freaked out” were as much a symptom of my current March Madness induced laziness; I definitely could have been more precise with my criticism, which I will be now. I have no issue with a blogger (or journalist, or artist, or anyone running a website with a following) responding and debating with his readers. In fact, I absolutely love sites like that, and I’m much more likely to frequent them. And considering the number of live chats SBI has, it definitely qualifies, and that’s why it has a place on my Chrome bookmark bar. And you can obviously disagree with readers here, goodness knows I have. Just because they consume your product doesn’t mean they have a right to tell you what to write or how to do it. I wasn’t trying to do that, nor was I trying to contradict your facts, really. My only point was that lately (in terms of lately, I mean the past year or so; I go back to the old typepad/red and white/impossible to remember URL site) any time a commenter points out a possible flaw, he gets contradicted. Again, this time, maybe “freaked out” on would be an overstatement, but surely you’ll admit that there have been times where that hasn’t been the case, and that you wish you had some comments back, maybe? I mean, maybe not, and that’s fine. The site is obviously doing well, and seems to be expanding, and considering the market you started with and where you are now, surely you’ve worked extremely hard, and I’m a huge fan for that reason. It just seems like there’s an uptick in unnecessarily negative responses to readers. That’s somewhat of a turnoff, and I just wanted to make that point. I appreciate you debating readers, and I’m sorry if it seemed like I was chiming in from the peanut gallery.


  • TheRyan

    I wish that people would realize what a tremendous comeback this is for him without the negativity. I know that it is easy to sit back and say “If I had the talent that CD had I wouldn’t waste it by going out and having fun with pretty girls when I know I’m on my way to the WC finals”.

    I’m with Brett. Some players could really benefit from a complete mental restructuring. CD has a chance to be a stronger player mentally. Hopefully he will only move forward from here.

    I’ve done many stupid things in my life. Getting into the back seat of a car with two (potentially drunk) women wouldn’t even appear on my top ten list of stupid things.

    If you are going to Nashville I will tell you the top ten stupid things I have done. Hopefully I will add a few to this list when we are in Nashville.


  • Jim D.

    I asked him if he did the Stanky Leg after making a good halfsmoke, and he immediately obliged. It was awesome.


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