On October 13, 2009 then USMNT forward Charlie Davies was in an automobile accident that killed one of his fellow passengers and almost cost Davies his life as well. The question that remains open is whether, ultimately, the accident also ended Davies club career and continuing national team aspirations. Since the accident Davies’ career has plateaued- if not gone into decline. Since the accident he has left Ligue 1 side Sochaux, spent one successful (11 goals in 26 matches) on loan at D.C. United, and transferred to Danish side Randers where, though he has appeared in 23 matches this season, he has not scored a goal. Now it appears that Davies will sign on loan with the New England Revolution for the remainder of the MLS season (with the Revolution having the option to make the deal permanent at that point). If ever there was a chance for Davies to resurrect his career, this is it.
With Juan Agudelo apparently headed for Stoke City, with Jerry Bengston apparently a bust of epic proportions and with the Revolution offense only producing 1.36 goals/match, the club needs him. If Davies can regain anything like the form he had while on loan at D.C. United- never mind the form he had earlier in his career with Hammarby or the USMNT- he will fundamentally change the Revolution’s fortunes for the better this season. One thing is certain- Davies will get his chance in New England and non-soccer factors may have as much to do with it as his time on the pitch.
While there have been a handful of successful players from New England, none have ever had the “potential” of Davies and as a result, since his high school days Davies has been not just “the guy” in New England soccer circles, he has been “our guy.” He was born and raised in Manchester, NH, he went to prep school in North Andover, MA, and when the time came for college soccer, he chose to stay at “home” and play at Boston College. As all of this was going on he was steadily climbing through the national teams youth sides, he was playing in the Olympics, he was playing in the PDL just over “the border” in Westchester County, NY. Everything was lining up- how could he not end up playing for the Revolution?
But after three years at Boston College Davies decided it was time to move on- just not to MLS. Instead he went to try his luck in Europe- and who could blame him? After a few successful trials he ended up with Hammarby in Sweden where, once he got his footing, he became just the kind of professional we all knew he could be- by his second season he was a regular in the team and scored 15 goals in 31 total matches. He split the next season between Hammarby and Souchaux and scored 9 goals in 19 total matches. He was a “goal every other match” player even has the competition was growing more sturdy and he was making a name for himself with the USMNT- he even scored a goal at the Azteca against Mexico. And then came the crash.
The SUV he was in was torn in half and Davies suffered multiple major (tibia, femur, etc.) broken bones, a lacerated bladder, and numerous head injuries that were severe enough to threaten his life, and if he survived, his ability to function- never mind return to football. Davies survived, of course, and did everything he could to get himself back on the field for both Sochaux and the USMNT, but despite his best efforts he could neither get well enough for fit enough for Sochaux to give him medical clearance and as a result then USMNT coach Bob Bradley felt he could not choose him for even the provisional 2010 World Cup Roster. Davies would eventually receive his medical clearance, but by then he’d been out of the game for almost 18 months and Sochaux had moved on, resulting in his loan to D.C. United.
Despite only playing two thirds of the 2011 MLS season, only six players scored more goals than Davies. Despite this performance D.C. United declined to exercise their option to sign Davies permanently and he returned to Sochaux. Upon his return it was clear that he was not part of the club’s future plans and he left the club by “mutual consent,” before signing a two year deal with Denmark’s Randers F.C.. For whatever reason, things have not gone well there and it appears that, not to put to fine a point on it, Charlie Davies is coming home, both literally- his off-season home is only 40 minutes from Gillette Stadium- and figuratively- he’s from here, and that means something.
There’s no pressure, Charlie. All you’ve got to do is play, and we know you can do that.
Welcome home, #9.