CHESTER, Pa. — Charlie Davies will forever be grateful to the New England Revolution, where he had many great moments over the past three years. But because of how suddenly his trade to the Philadelphia Union came together last Thursday, the 30-year-old striker felt like he didn’t get a chance to completely express that sentiment.
It almost comes as good timing, then, that Davies will return to New England on Saturday when the Union face the Revolution at Gillette Stadium (7:30 pm ET, MLS LIVE).
“For me, it’s going to be extremely interesting to go back,” Davies told MLSsoccer.com on Wednesday. “But I look forward to it because it’s a way for me to have a proper goodbye to the fans and the staff after three good years.”
It’s certainly been a crazy week for Davies, who made his Union debut Saturday against another one of his former teams in D.C. United, with whom he scored 11 goals during the 2011 season.
But this weekend’s trip will surely hit home even more for Davies, whose wife and young twins are still in Boston for now.
“It’s a strange feeling when you walk into that opposing locker room for the first time after having been there and contributed like he did for them,” Union head coach Jim Curtin said. “But he’s up for it. I think he’s excited by it.”
Curtin, who plans to use Davies mostly in a reserve role to spell starting striker C.J. Sapong, added that there’s “zero pressure” on Davies or Alejandro Bedoya, who’s in line to make his MLS debut Saturday. Instead, he said, all of the pressure is on the other players and himself to make sure they help the newcomers get properly integrated.
“Charlie just needs to do what Charlie does, and that’s get on the end of crosses, to be a good target for us, to be a threat to get in behind,” Curtin said. “He’ll get service with this group. I’m confident in that. Going to New England, though, he’ll have a little extra in it, I think. He spent some very good years there, he enjoyed his time there, but now he’s wearing a different shirt.”
Even if his two former MLS clubs weren’t on the Union schedule upon his arrival, coming to Philly would have still been chaotic for Davies, who recently returned to the field after announcing he had been diagnosed with a type of rare cancer that is now in remission.
But the 30-year-old striker praised the Union for making it “very easy for me to settle down” — a transition that’s been aided by having a couple of good friends on the team, including Bedoya. Now he hopes to “return the favor on the field” to the club that wants him to become a big part of their future.
“This franchise is deserving of a winning, successful team,” Davies said. “It’s a big, master plan and project that [sporting director] Earnie Stewart has put on here and it’s extremely attractive and appealing. And I don’t think there are too many players who would turn down the opportunity to play here.”
Before looking too far ahead, though, Davies will get to close a chapter with the Revs on Saturday — even if he’ll do it after putting on a different jersey inside of a different locker room.
“It’s gonna be emotional, especially how things turned out,” he said. “It was literally a matter of hours and, all of a sudden, I’m being presented with a trade to Philly.
"But obviously I’m excited and thankful for my time in New England. It’s a second family to me.”