Reports emerged from France this morning that U.S. forward Charlie Davies has lost his battle to get back to fitness in time for the 2010 World Cup.
An Agence France Presse (AFP) report on Tuesday morning cited medical staff at French club Sochaux. FIFA.com posted the report under the headline: “Davies Loses Fitness Battle.” Sky Sports published a three-graph story "Davies' WC Dream Over" stating that Sochaux confirmed the news.
However, U.S. Soccer spokesperson Michael Kammarman said that the U.S. National Team’s position had not changed with respect to the Davies situation.
“We’re continuing to monitor Charlie’s progress and the coaching staff will make decision about his availability for training camp by May 11,” he told MLSsoccer.com.
Sochaux club officials referred MLSsoccer.com to an update in France’s national sports daily L’Equipe, which actually leaves the door open for a possible World Cup return.
L’Equipe cites a comment by Sochaux’s athletic trainer Cédric Blomme as told to AFP: “I don’t want to be pessimistic. Davies has come a long way and has progressed day by day. It is encouraging and we just need to wait. You can’t say it’s impossible. It [making the World Cup] would be important for him and the club. There is a list of 30 players which is going to be submitted and he could be in there. It remains to be seen how he evolves.”
The report by L’Equipe reiterated that Sochaux staff have determined that Davies will not return to full fitness in time for the final matches of the French Ligue 1 season.
"We don’t know where it come from," Sochaux spokesman Stijn Slaats told MLSsoccer.com in reference to the original AFP article which cited Sochaux sources. "Apparently it first appeared in an article and then we started to call people to find out how and from which sources this came. Then they [L'Equipe] spoke to our athletic trainer and they [L'Equipe] revisited their article."
U.S. Soccer confirmed that head trainer Ivan Pierra was in France last week to evaluate Davies and has since returned to the United States. There has been no word yet on what Pierra might report back to the U.S. coaching staff.
Sochaux also said that a U.S. physical trainer visited the club on Thursday and Friday.
"I can't come to any conclusion about the things he's going to report to Mr. Bradley or the U.S. Soccer staff," Slaats said.
Slaats confirmed that Davies is not on the squad list for Wednesday's Ligue 1 match. There will be two league fixture dates remaining over the next two weekends.
He also said that the American striker is still conducting an individual training program while also training with the full team.
Davies himself chimed in via Twitter saying: "Everyone I'm still progressing and happy with my progress. I am very fortunate to NOT have had any setbacks. My eye is still on the prize!! ... Thank you for the continued support. Just BELIEVE! God Bless."
The 23-year-old was involved in a fatal car accident on Oct. 13 and has since been working on recovering from multiple injuries.