Monday, March 21, 2011

The feel good story of Charlie Davies

There are a lot of negative stories that float around the game of soccer. From corruption at FIFA, to racism, homophobia to fan violence. There are plenty of things I could cover, and have covered over the past year that show the ugly side of the game. But today I'm more that happy...thrilled in fact to post this one, the remarkable come back of U.S international striker Charlie Davies.

I funny enough remember where I was when I heard the news, I was at the desk of my former employer who happened to be a soccer fan as well. We were discussing some technical issues with a product we were working on when she scrolled into a braking news story that was about three lines long. It said:

"The U.S. national team's World Cup qualifying celebration took a very somber turn on Tuesday morning when it learned that Charlie Davies, the Boston College product who has established himself as a first-choice forward this year, was involved in a serious car accident near the team's Arlington, Va., hotel."~Via (Brain Straus)
My colleague had no idea who Davies was, but I did. I mainly remember Davies for ripping Canada apart in a few friendlies and for some excellent performances in France for Ligue 1 side Sochaux. He also was a big reason why the U.S national team made it to the final of the Confederations Cup in 2009 against Brazil. Things were defiantly looking up for the player. Then disaster struck.

Sochaux supporters wish CD9 well

The car he was in that morning lost control on the George Washington Parkway in D.C and according to one officers report was sawed in half. One passenger died in the crash and Charlie was so badly hurt that doctors were sure that he would not survive his injuries. He still has a massive scar on his head. However survive is exactly what he did, unfortunately he would miss the national team's World Cup run, he lost his place at Sochaux though both team's supporters showed him great love and well wishes it was thought he would never play again.

Davies rehab was intense as he set about the goal of playing football at the highest level again. It was painful and frustrating at times but he was determined to make it. I had lost sight of the Davies story for a bit, focused on the World Cup, Euro qualifiers. the MLS season winding to a close, and the start of the new European league season I had forgotten about his fight back to fitness. Then I read a badly Google translated article from L'Equipe that more or less stated that Charlie Davies was back training with the Sochaux reserves. I personally was happy for him but also amazed that he was able to be back training at a high level a little after a year since the accident. He did not see anytime with the first team, but got into some action with the reserves, and after the January transfer window closed, it was announced that Charlie would be coming to MLS to trial with D.C United. In his typical workman fashion he impressed and easily made the squad.

Which brings us to last Saturday in the 63rd minute 12 yards from goal. In his first competitive game in a year and a half, he's taking a penalty. I remember what nerves felt like when taking a game winning shot in Basketball especially when you know the ball is coming to you. The nerves hit you and you have to calm yourself down and visualize an empty court just like in practice. I have no idea what was going though Charlie's mind when he was taking that penalty, but I'm sure a part of him was back on that freeway. He slotted it in of course and for good measure scored another 12 minutes later.

No one know what this season will bring for him but all I know is when I see him play I'll be rooting for him..... except when he plays against TFC. 


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