An offseason search for forward reinforcements led D.C. United to an unexpected target: Charlie Davies.
The fan favorite and US international has been on a long road to recovery from a horrific car accident in October 2009. Davies is now in the midst of a weeklong trial in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., aiming to prove that he is ready to contribute in MLS on a possible season-long loan.
A loan agreement is already in place with Davies’ French club Sochaux, and the trial period is a chance for head coach Ben Olsen to evaluate the 24-year-old before finalizing the deal.
It’s only been a few days, but Davies has positive attitude and friendly personality, and has quickly fit in with the rest of DC’s reshaped roster.
[inline_node:327905]“I know that he’s excited to be here and we’re excited to have him,” Josh Wolff told MLSsoccer.com. “He’s brought a lot of hard work and, obviously, a big smile to training every day.”
During the club’s first preseason friendly last week – a 5-1 win over the Canadian U-20 national team – Davies scored and set up a goal in 74 minutes of action.
Prior to camp in Ft. Lauderdale, Davies knew just a few players on DC’s roster, like Santino Quaranta, that played with him on the US men’s national team in the 2009 Gold Cup.
“He fits right in with the guys,” Quaranta said of Davies. “He’s someone I knew who has the right attitude.”
Since he arrived at camp, the opportunities have given Davies a chance to display what he can do. His last first-team appearance at Sochaux occurred the same month he suffered his life-threatening accident. His road to recovery has been a long and slow one.
“He looks good,” Quaranta said of Davies. “Him not playing consistently for a while is affecting him a little bit, but he’s athletic, he’s strong, he’s somebody that can help us. Whether the coaches make that decision [to keep Davies on loan] or not, it’s up to them.”
Wolff echoed those sentiments.
“You can see the ideas he has, they’re certainly still there," said Wolff. "But it’s a process, coming back from any injury, physically or mentally."
The status of Davies trial is day-by-day. He’ll get another chance to impress Olsen and the DC coaching staff on Wednesday against Florida International University.
Until then, Wolff and the rest of the team will do whatever they can to help Davies give it his best shot.
“We’re just going to try and certainly see how we can help him and keep him going through the week and let him have the best training possible,” Wolff said.
Travis Clark covers D.C. United, College and Youth soccer for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter: @travismclark.