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Goal.com Profile: Charlie Davies

Name: Charlie Davies
Club: Hammarby IF
Date of birth: 25 June 1986
Height: 1.78 m
Weight: 73 kg
Position: Striker

Background

Charlie Davies is a stocky forward with a low center of gravity and an explosive turn of pace. He pinpoints his two main attributes as “quickness and speed.” His play has started to turn heads at the international level, and French club Sochaux is in negotiations with the player over a potential move.

“Charlie brings energy to the game,” U.S. coach Bob Bradley said after a including him in the starting lineup against Egypt in the Confederations Cup. “We felt that was a good way to go about things.”

Having excelled in the high school game, Davies attended Boston College in Massachusetts. He scored nine goals in 20 appearances his freshman year, but suffered a knee injury that effectively kept him out for his sophomore season. Returning from injury as a junior, he was a finalist for the Hermann Trophy, an award given to the top college soccer player in the country. That year he also scored six goals in nine games for the Westchester Flames in the Premier Development League, far down in the lower leagues of America.

That was enough to get people looking at him. Major League Soccer offered him a Generation adidas contract, which he declined, instead considering options abroad. After a trial with Ajax, he signed with Swedish club Hammarby IF.

Hammarby

Initially, Davies struggled to adopt to the European game. He fluttered in and out of the lineup without much impact throughout most of his first year with Hammarby, 2007. That changed in the last game of the season, as he broke out and scored a hat-trick against GAIS.

Those goals set him up well for the upcoming season. He carried his momentum through the offseason and scored 14 goals in 27 games in 2008. The breakout year didn't go unnoticed on the international level as he earned national team callups.

Controversy befell Davies' season in 2009. He was suspended for five league matches for elbowing Orebro's Michael Almeback in the face. The match official missed the incident, but cameras did not. Davies used the time to join up with the United States national team for the Confederations Cup.

International

As a youngster, Davies had largely failed to impress with his time on the U. S. youth teams. However, his form in Sweden drew the eye of U.S. coach Bob Bradley, who gave the speedster his first chances, in 2007. That led to Peter Nowak calling Davies into the U-23 team that participated in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

There, Nowak kept Davies on the bench until late in the third group game, against Nigeria. When Davies finally got on the pitch, he caused a storm. With his team a man down, Davies' speed on the counter gave the Nigerian backline fits, and the striker even clattered a header off the underside of the crossbar.

His efforts were in vain for that particular match, but, soon after, Bradley gave Davies a chance in World Cup qualifying, where Davies scored his first international goal, against Trinidad and Tobago in a 2-1 loss.

In 2009, Bradley included Davies among the roster to participate in the Confederations Cup. Again, the 23-year-old didn't see time until the final game of the group stages, with the USA facing elimination. This time, though, he started. Needing to win by three goals over Egypt and for Italy to lose by three goals in the other group match, Davies took things into his own hands. It was sheer determination and a bullish unwillingness to be refused that pushed home the game's opening goal. Two more followed for his side in the second half, as Italy lost 3-0 as well to send the USA through the semifinals.

Against powerhouse Spain in the semis, Davies kept his starting role. His tireless running provided a valuable outlet against incessant Spanish attacks, helping the U.S. hold on long enough to win. In the next match, against Brazil, Davies provided the assist on a swift counter for Landon Donovan's goal as the USA took a 2-0 lead at half. It didn't last, however, as Brazil scored three times in the second half to take the trophy.

In his prematch press conference ahead of the semifinal, Spain manager Vincente del Bosque singled out Davies. “The other day this player we did not know, Davies, played a very good match,” he said. Chances are, many more people are going to be taken unawares by the youngster's play.

Bonus

-Read an extensive interview Davies gave Goal.com earlier in the year in this Give And Go.

-Watch exclusive Goal.com video of Charlie Davies speaking on his future below. In it he says, “The French league would fit me perfectly.”

Zac Lee Rigg is an associate editor of Goal.com

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