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Of Charlie Davies, denial, entitlement and brief career arcs

Jul 9, 2012, 11:11 AM EDT

Charlie Davies AP

The arc of Charlie Davies’ career path has been difficult to watch for U.S. Soccer supporters.

Last week Davies left his French club for Randers FC in Denmark; whether this is the termination point on his professional spiral or just another stop remains in question.

This story at hits the right note. It’s a timeline of a path to destruction. Not destruction of the man’s ability; that awful car crash back in 2009 did that.

Rather, it’s a walk back through a thought process that was always tainted by denial and unrealistic expectations. Worse, his feelings and comments were perennially self-serving. In his comeback bid, heroic as emotionally invested supporters wanted to see it, Davies always managed to make it about himself.

I always thought his misguided sentiments stemmed from being naïve, not from being a bad fellow. Still, the collateral damage was the same.

It was never about the team, about the organizations (the clubs and the U.S. national team) that were straining so hard to support him – and mostly holding their tongues as Davies sometimes challenged them publicly. So along the way he created a lot of bad feelings, taking his self-important message public while putting his teams in some bad spots, making the coaches and organizations look like the bad guys.

The bottom line is that Davies, post-car crash, never returned to excellence; he was just OK, and sometimes not even that. But the story was inspiring, so fans bought in, sometimes seeing what they wanted while averting eyes to the harsher realities. Some of Davies’ early success at D.C. United turned out to be a mirage, although some media voices (including mine, as you can see here) were warning that things might not be what they seem.

Davies’ story has always been an emotional one. Still is, so supporters need not feel badly about mis-reads along the way.

Bottom line here: let’s hope the man changes his attitude and drops the harmful entitlement cargo. He’s not a “young striker” anymore, now 26 years old. Davies career started in Scandinavia; maybe it’s also the spot where the former U.S. international can get things pointed in the right direction once again.

  1. docstraw - Jul 9, 2012 at 2:33 PM

    total shame because that player from 2009 had vast potential. It is pretty telling that Sochaux, a team that finished towards the bottom of Ligue 1 had no use for Davies. True, his comments about the club pres in 2010 probably damaged the relationship but I doubt any personal issues between player and management would trump the clubs on-field needs. If Davies were good enough, he would have been out there. Sochaux probably know better than anyone what he is capable of right now.

    Just curious because all we really know is that he “isn’t the same”, but if someone were to construct a scouting report on THIS version of Davies, how would it read, especially compared to the pre-crash version of the player?

  2. Noah Davis - Jul 9, 2012 at 3:00 PM

    To me, the most interesting (and probably saddest) thing about the Davies saga is the dramatic difference between the private and public sides. His US teammates LOVED Charlie. Granted, it’s a close-knit group, but he always seemed like one of the most popular ones in the lockerroom. That’s such a contrast from the “me-first” attitude that Steve accurately described above and Seth alluded to in his piece. The car wreck did more than damage him physically; it created a “why me?” attitude that’s followed him ever since. I wonder what pre-car wreck Davies would think about that?

  3. californiaredskins - Jul 10, 2012 at 2:25 AM

    100% agree that the more that came out about Davies the less he seemed to be a good guy or at least appeared to be. It definitely is a shame what happened to him and you can’t blame him for being a little bitter about the situation, but time and again the guys that come back from great tragedies seem to have the exact opposite approach.

  4. chadmoon1 - Jul 12, 2012 at 2:13 PM

    Let us all also remember that this terrible car crash that “happenned to him” was also of his own making. I have been cursed at for this very opinion, but I don’t care, He was out after curfew, breaking team rules when the crash happenned. Had he been where he was supposed to be, none of it would have “happenned to him”.

    Charlie happenned to himself.

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