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Davies hoping for a fresh start with D.C. United

CharlieDaviesDC (AP)

By FRANCO PANIZO

FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla. – D.C. United is aiming to get back to its glory days in 2011 after a truly forgettable year. The club's next potential player is looking to do the same thing.

Charlie Davies is in Florida with D.C., embarking on a week-long stint with the club that will help D.C. determine whether to bring him in on a season-long loan from French club FC Sochaux.

Davies is hoping to complete his remarkable recovery from multiple injuries sustained in a deadly car accident in October 2009. He joined the team for its pre-season preparations in south Florida on Wednesday night, trained on Thursday and played in Friday's intra-squad scrimmage.

After Friday's scrimmage, Davies admitted afterwards that he isn't 100 percent back to where he was before the accident.

"There's some times when I feel step-for-step the same, and there's other times where I don't feel just as right," said Davies, who has not played in an official match since a World Cup qualifying 3-2 win over Honduras on Oct. 10, 2009. "Maybe because my confidence isn't up right now, so I think once I get that back up and at full confidence then I think I'll feel exactly the same."

Davies has yet to play for Sochaux's first team, but In terms of speed, one of his strongest assets, Davies feels he's almost back to his best.

"I feel pretty good with my speed and quickness," said Davies. "I might have a little more to progress, but as far as being out there and being like 'That guy's fast,' you'll still think I'm pretty fast."

Davies may be quick, but his return to first-team action has not been. About 15 months removed from the accident, Davies has been limited to playing in reserve games for Sochaux, but even that was sporadic, leaving the former Boston College forward to look for options elsewhere.

That quest for playing time has brought him on trial to D.C. United, which is looking to bounce back from a 6-20-4 season. The move came about when Davies' agent, Lyle Yorks, presented him with the idea. 

"My agent thought that it might be the best situation for me to be in the right atmosphere," said Davies. "Where I have all the support of not only just my teammates, but of the people around me, the higher-ups like the management and the coaching staff and being in a comfortable situation. I thought about it and I thought, 'Yeah, maybe I think he's right' and so far I think it is going to be the best situation for me to progress."

Having only scored 21 goals last year in league play, D.C. United thought it would be a good move to bring Davies along for a trial with a potential loan already negotiated should he prove physically fit and capable of returning to the player he once was.

"He had interest in coming to the MLS and getting some looks," said D.C United head coach Ben Olsen, who played with Davies on the U.S. team that participated in the 2007 Copa America and is no stranger to injuries himself. "We're first in that list of national team players coming back so we were a logical choice.

"I had a nice chat with Charlie (beforehand) and he very candidly gave me an update about himself and his situation (with Sochaux). He said he would be very excited to come try out here. Not a lot of guys would come try out. A lot of guys would hold out and say 'Get me or not. I'm not trying out.' But give Charlie credit. He's over here, and he's confident enough to come here for a week – which is never easy – and show what he has."

Davies has been received with open arms, and has felt at home thanks to the presence of several familiar faces. From Dax McCarty at youth levels to Santino Quaranta at the 2009 Gold Cup, Davies has played with several of the players on D.C. United's roster. That has been an added benefit to a player adjusting to a change of scenery.

"It's great to come out and play with guys I've played with in the past," said Davies. "I grew up playing with Steve King in the regional team at FC Delco, and I've played with Dax with the youth national teams and Santino in Gold Cup. So it's great to come out and see guys that you know and played against in the past and it helps out a lot."

Davies isn't the only one thankful. D.C. United players are happy to have Davies in camp, and not only because he might be able to contribute to the team with his goal-scoring ability.

"Very, very excited to be back with Charlie," said Quaranta. "As a team and as group, we're very excited to have him here. We think he can help us, and just overall as a friend, happy to have him in camp.

"I went out to dinner with Charlie the other night and we sat down and talked for a while. We have some similar stuff that we've had in our lives and he seems very grateful. I was with Charlie with the national team, and he gave me my first goal (with an assist against Honduras in the 2009 Gold Cup). To be with him again, and to see where he's come mentally, I'm proud of him."

The mental aspect is something Davies agrees has changed, and grown, since the accident. Davies feels he has learned a lot about himself since making the decision to break curfew on that dreadful night, and he now has a newfound appreciation for life on and off the soccer field. So much so that Davies didn't think twice about jumping at the chance at returning to the area where the accident occurred.

"It's not the city that did this to me, it was myself," said Davies. "It was a bad decision I made, but then you can't forget about the support that I had at RFK that game against Costa Rica. So to play in front of those fans that are so passionate, it's definitely a wonderful feeling to get a chance or opportunity to play in front of them."

When asked on Friday, Davies also admitted a goal of his is to play in front of U.S. national team fans at this summer's Gold Cup. But Davies stated he has to take things one step at a time, starting with doing well enough in the upcoming week to convince D.C. United he is worth keeping.

Comments

  1. This is a good article. I’m glad to see Davies showing a lot of maturity here. I wondered how he would respond to not making the World Cup (even though it was unquestionably the right decision), but he seems to have the right attitude now. I hope he’s learned from his mistakes, and Quaranta should be a good mentor helping him to make wiser decisions regarding his friends.

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  2. Uh oh realism about CD 9 will get you in trouble here. Only scientific fantasy without any medical basis accepted here. Some of these guys are the same ones that wanted Bradleys head on a platter cause he didn’t want tO drink out of the cd9 cool aide like most posters here n take him to SA

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  3. Fair enough, but let’s be honest – EVERYONE is speculating on Davies, even Chuck D himself. All it is right now is speculation because we’re all gonna have to wait and see where he’ll end up and how good he’ll be.

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  4. Jako’s getting a bum rap on the 2nd goal. Bosko took it past Burch (I think it was Burch, even though it was the right side — maybe it was Zayner or Korb?)– He’s the one who got beat. jako slid in and I think he was able to deflect the shot a little (sounds like it)

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  5. As I understand it, it has less to do with Adu’s demands. Yeah, he’s making good money — More to the point, though, is that Benfica is determined not to lose a lot of money on the deal. MLS wouldn’t meet the club’s demands, even if Adu was interested. Other Euro teams have backed off for the same reason. especially when they’re not sure he can contribute. I guess a 2nd division Turkish team was less concerned about that — and maybe Benfica was forced to lower their asking price at the deadline.

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  6. I suppose you’re right about that — but I think it’s ridiculous to speculate on Davies. Given his injuries he’s probably on schedule, if not ahead of schedule. We’ll really just have to wait and see, since none of us know enough or have seen enough to have an informed opinion.

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  7. Goff has tweeted that it’s not DP money – So, less than $335k. Considering that DCU is only paying for two other salaries more than $200k — Boskovic and Perkins (and we don’t even know how much of Perkins’ salary they’re covering) — I’d say they’ve got gobs of cap room left over.

    And DC still has 2 DP slots.

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  8. Hmmm…Dad — see my comment above — you’ve got a more positive sense of the FO’s role in this than I do. I hope you’re closer to the truth. Personally, I think it was a no-brainer to ask about EJ and CD. We were already speculating about those guys — not just Adu.

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  9. Blows right by our best (still haven’t seen much of our new editions in White, Kitchen, Bracesco, etc.) centerback Jakovic… Disrupts Cronin, and creates a scoring opportunity capitalized on… looked good to me.
    Jako also got shook by Boskovic for the second goal.

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  10. I agree completely.

    I’m actually feeling very positive about this — but I can’t resist posting something more pessimistic.

    I give the front office some credit for getting this done, but I think this was probably handed to them on a platter. They really need to get out there and start finding talent — bring in proven Latin American talent like Perlaza or a European like Lindpere or Solli. I get that more Euros would be interested in NY, but Portland? I really believe the FO isn’t doing what other teams are doing. Maybe it’s the finances — at least we can hope that might improve if Chang gets some investor. If it’s the people, it’s a bleaker situation, since I don’t see the team making changes there.

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  11. United’s website states that the terms of the loan have already been negotiated, and I’m also wagering United initiated the contact with Charlie. It also stated they had also talked to Eddie Johnson. It’s been written elsewhere that United has possibly used their allocation more aggressively than just sitting around waiting to around for the next Yank abroad who wants to stumble home. Some folks had even speculated in horror that Freddy Adu might be coming back to DCU before that loan was announced!

    At any rate, this sounds like a situation where Charlie was lured by a favorable situation in his mind to DCU. If this is the case I’m pretty stoked at our FO savvy for once in a long while.

    Hoping it works out. It would be a pretty incredible situation.

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  12. You “don’t believe”? You “don’t feel”?

    Actually, you don’t have a clue. You’re talking out your posterior. Either CD will regain form or he won’t, but you’re in no position to even have an opinion.

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  13. Not sure what you’re talking about with Gooch. His injury was a day after Charlie’s. He wasn’t really ready to contribute at a high level in August, either — and any decent team that saw him in the World Cup would have been leery of a loan at that time. So — actually, Gooch is back in action sooner — as he should be, given his injury was less serious — and I don’t see how you can criticize for not getting a loan earlier.

    Felihaber — well he’s well-paid and he’s helping his team earn promotion. Perhaps, he could be playing somewhere else, or he’d be fighting for playing time.

    Look at Bradley — props to him for taking a big risk, but his playing time is far from guaranteed.

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  14. phil,
    dude, you sure you want to glare menacingly at Gooch? don’t know what you look like, but that guy’s pretty big. just sayin’.

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  15. Amazing link Phil! Thanks for posting that. Can’t front yo…the god got a little misty eyed watching that! Just seeing him running around (and causing a goal too) was so inspiring. As a Red Bulls fan but a USMNT fan FIRST, I say get as many goals possible CD9! And to all the MLS doubters…i used to be one of them…YOU MUST PAY ATTENTION TO THE LEAGUE FINALLY!

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  16. Both CD and other people (Quaranta, McCarty, Ben Olsen) said:
    –he some fine flashes at the beginning and then got tired
    –he’s not in the shape that most of the other players are in at camp
    –his speed and quickness is almost what his was originally
    –some of his game seems to be back and other parts are missing or awkward (that comes from CD)

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  17. I think we need him, not only for his striking ability but to inject interest in the team again. He’d be a huge presence to the media/fans (at least at first) and would offer lots of marketing/promotional/inspiration to the team.

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  18. Nope. DCU needs a goal scorer first and foremost. They went after EJ and struck out. They haven’t found international options that work. If CD shows he has a decent chance of being physically able to perform and to be a striker who’s worth starting (not even a dominant player–just a pretty good one), then DCU will sign him. If they pass, why would any other club look at him? If DCU passes, it’s a way of saying that either they don’t think his body is up to the point where he can play and practice regularly. Or is form and game is so far gone that he either isn’t capable of being a serious contribute as a striker or at least isn’t capable of doing so this year. So for DCU to pass is to effectively say “we don’t think he will not only be unable to be Gold Cup quality, we don’t think he’s capable of being a good striker in MLS this season–that Chris Pontius and Joseph Ngwenya will contribute more this year.”

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  19. there’s about a minute and half of scrimmage highlights on the DCU website:

    http://www.dcunited.com/news/2011/02/united-in-fort-lauderdale-day-5

    There is quite a bit of footage on CD9. He’s definitely the same scrappy, make something happen kind of player. I’;m sure not being in SA was a hug blow to his confidence. It seemed like that was a major motivating force for him. Perhaps being “back home” and work through MLS preseason and such will be a good way for him to get some of that swagger back. I say this in spite of the great support of Sochaux, (which has been stand for him in everything I have heard).

    Mad props to Charlie for not waiting an entire season before seeking out better playing opportunities (glares menacingly at Gooch) and being willing to take a “step back” to the domestic league to hopefully start taking some major steps forward (glares menacingly at Feilhaber, thinks about glaring at Adu but gives up…)

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  20. In response to Freddy Adu to a preious comment about Adu coming back to the MLS…. Would the MLS even want him. He was never a central player on any team he played on in the MLS and in my opinion proved very little when he was in the league. If he was to come back, I believe it would be for a pittance of what he is currently being paid now by Benfica. If he can swallow his pride and play for a journyman’s salary in the MLS their might be some team willing to take him on….but I doubt it.

    As for Charlie Davies, I don’t believe he will ever come back fully from this injury. I hope he does, but I do not feel he will ever play a significant role with the National team again. He could have a decent MLS career from here on out, but even that is a little more optomistic than the realist in me wants to grant.

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  21. Freddy has a cush contract with Benefica. This last loan move will make all the difference in determining whether he will have a “find God moment” like CD9 or continue believe all yesterdays hype.

    If he can do well in Turkey he can stay on in Europe. If not, then he may have to swallow his pride and come back to MLS.

    Everyone forgets how young he still is. I am hoping he can get his head screwed on straight and become the player his potential spoke of.

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  22. Since they already negotiated the loan deal and are just assessing whether he’s fit and good enough to play, I don’t think the salary they negotiated is that much of a factor to them. And you never know, Sochaux might be feeling desperate to get him some time where he’s comfortable. Either way, I read somewhere that he won’t be on DP money.

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  23. His salary might end up being a huge factor – whats the cap hit here? How do we even guess? That has to be as big a factor – if not bigger – than his readiness to play. I want to see Charlie out on the field, even if he’s lined up in opposition, but thats gotta be a healthy chunk of change.

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  24. Looking at some video of Charlie I think he is not there yet. Speed is not there. Looking back at some older video of Charlie, he was on his way. He really was.

    Just going to make getting back to the top that much more sweet. Good luck Charlie!

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  25. Oh, I understand perfectly. Despite my hatred for the allocation setup, this could actually benefit Charlie by almost ensuring that someone in MLS will pick him up this year if DCU can’t get it sorted out.

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  26. It’s been a long road to recovery for Charlie and this is the first time I feel like he’s truly intuned to what’s going on and what he needs to do. He willing to try out for an MLS club and knows he not 100% …definately looking forward to seeing him continue his journey.

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  27. So did Charlie negotiate the loan with MLS or with DCU? If hypothetically DCU either didn’t want him or couldn’t pay his salary, would he just move on down the allocation list or would it be open season?

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  28. would love to see CD( in the Gold Cup, but wil lbe happy if he gets some time in the starting 11 for DC. Kepp working hard chuck!

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