New England Soccer Today

Another Time In Another World

Photo credit: Chris Aduama/

Photo credit: Chris Aduama/

Six summers ago, Charlie Davies was on top of the world. And he knew it, too.

He had just turned 23, and was fresh off a breakthrough performance that had helped steer the U.S. Men’s National Team to the Confederations Cup glory in South Africa, a remarkable achievement for Bob Bradley’s boys. The Manchester, N.H. native was paired alongside a 19-year-old Jozy Altidore, giving the U.S. an attack that featured speed, size and technical savvy up top, and made American soccer supporters salivate at the squad’s chances for the upcoming World Cup.

Only weeks after that Confederations Cup final, Davies, who starred at Boston College, was back in his old stomping grounds. The date was Jul. 11, 2009. The U.S. was in the midst of group stage play for the 2009 CONCACAF Gold Cup, and Bradley decided to field what was essentially a “B” team for the tournament given the short turnaround from South Africa. But Davies made the roster, and there he was in a white and red pinstriped shirt, playing in front of friends and family at Gillette Stadium, a place he’d probably never call home as a professional soccer player.

He didn’t start that final game of group stage play against Haiti, but he came on during the latter stages of a 2-1 game in which the U.S. was actually trailing. And he was electric.

Davies charged down the flank like he was shot out of a cannon, leaving the Haitian backline in disarray. He attacked pockets of space, which sharpened the U.S. attack. And with less than a minute remaining in stoppage time, the equalizer arrived in the 92nd minute via Stu Holden.

After the game, Davies spoke to Boston Globe reporter Frank Dell’Apa in the bowels of Gillette Stadium. Dell’Apa, the don of the New England soccer beat, knew Davies well, and vice versa. The conversation itself was a remarkable glimpse into the mind of a young man who knew the world was his oyster at this very moment.

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All photos courtesy of Chris Aduama/

Davies spoke about his future, which was bright as ever. He talked about Europe. The Confederations Cup. The World Cup. He was on the cusp of greatness, and no one was going to get in his way.

The buzz surrounding Davies at that every moment in mid-July of 2009 was deafening. Here he was: less than three years after bolted from BC for Hammarby, he was back in the Greater Boston area. The indelible memory he gave the likes of Dell’Apa and other Boston-based soccer media was the sensational bicycle kick he netted in a BC-Revolution closed-door scrimmage back in 2006. People were still talking about it. Three years later, he on the verge of signing with Ligue 1 side Sochaux. His spot on the 2010 World Cup roster was virtually assured.

He oozed confidence as he spoke to Dell’Apa. He was cocky as hell, and didn’t care. Charlie Davies’ career was blasting off its launchpad, and it was destined for the stratosphere and beyond.

Then, 94 days after that remarkable night in Norfolk County, the accident happened.


Today, Charlie Davies calls Gillette Stadium home.

He isn’t the same player he was six years ago. That’s to be expected, of course. The fact he is still alive, nevermind playing top-flight soccer, is a miracle among miracles.

Even so, here he is: a humbled and gracious 29-year-old man who’s finally back to scoring goals on a regular basis. He may never don the U.S. jersey again, but Davies is grateful to be playing a short drive from his house in Hingham, Mass. He married his college sweetheart, Nina, not too long ago.

Davies flashed an infectious smile when he was asked about that surreal evening back on July 11, 2009.

“Yeah, playing with (current Revolution coach) Jay Heaps here at Gillette,” Davies said prior to Revolution training on Wednesday. “It was a great tournament. I had to leave after the group stage because I signed in France at the time, but it was a lot of fun and to see the fans coming out, you really got to see how much soccer means to the public here in New England. It was a very memorable game for me.”

A memorable game that, six years later, seems like it took place in another world.

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