EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

August 17, 2013

Getting a kick out of life

Ex-Brooks star gets his dream soccer job with Revs

By Bill Burt

---- — FOXBORO -- You can see it in his eyes. You can hear it in his voice. Charlie Davies, the newest striker on the New England Revolution, is both humbled and happy.

He is also home, which has a lot to do with his constant smile lately.

Davies was acquired by the Revolution on a six-month loan deal from the Danish club Randers for the rest of the season, with Revs holding an option to buy Davies outright when the season ends.

He is expected to play his first game with the Revs tonight at Gillette Stadium versus Chicago.

On paper, it couldn’t be better. The Revs get a much-needed offensive talent and Davies gets a much-needed new lease on his soccer life.

“I’m over-the-moon thrilled,” said Davies. “This is a dream come true.”

Davies has had an interesting and eventful life and career for a guy only 27 years old. From being born in Lawrence, growing up in Derry and Manchester, N.H., his soccer talents have taken him all over the world, including Boston College, the U.S. national team, and professionally in Sweden, the Netherlands and France.

But in the fall of 2009, all of that changed. He was a passenger in a car accident in Washington, D.C. in which a woman passenger died.

Davies, who was in the area prepping for a U.S. national game before the 2010 World Cup, suffered what was believed to be career-ending injuries: a broken fibula, tibia and femur of his right leg, a torn ligament in his left knee, a fractured his left elbow, eye socket and nose, serious head trauma and lacerated his bladder.

He miraculously returned a year later, with scars in tow, spending time between France before being loaned to D.C. United of the Major League Soccer in the U.S., scoring 11 goals in 26 games in 2011.

But Davies apparently spoke out of turn publicly, about team management, and he was back in Europe (Denmark) with Randers, but it was as a substitute. The fact that he didn’t score a goal in 23 matches opened up an opportunity in Foxboro.

Coincidentally, he was married last fall and bought a home in Hingham on the South Shore.

“I couldn’t have planned it any better if I tried,” said Davies. “This where I plan to always live and the fact I’m so close to home is remarkable.”

When Davies thinks about his growth as a person and young man, he says it no doubt started at Brooks School in North Andover. The fact that several Brooks professors and former classmates attended his wedding is testament to his time there.

“Brooks always will hold a special place in my heart,” said Davies. “I learned a lot. I had so many great professors and coaches there that looked out for me. I honestly believe I got the foundation I needed in my life.”

Davies not only did the job in the classroom, he graduated as one of the top soccer players and wrestlers in school history. While he was a soccer prodigy before he got to Brooks, don’t be fooled by his successes on the wrestling mats there (three New England ISL championships and twice placing in nationals, third and seventh).

“The first match I ever saw was when I was in eighth grade visiting the campus,” recalled Davies. “In fact, I went out for varsity basketball as a freshman and didn’t make the team. I wasn’t that good, honestly, just fast and tough. After I got cut the assistant wrestling coach, Bill Hamel, persuaded me to give wrestling a try. I really didn’t want to.”

Davies, who started at 114 pounds as a freshman, was immediately good and hooked.

“(Wrestling) Coach K (Alex Konovalchik) took me under his wing and it turned out being one of the best things I’ve ever done,” said Davies. “Wrestling helped my soccer so much, mentally and physically. The one-on-one battles, the aggressiveness, the strength ... I believe wrestling helped me go a long way in my soccer.”

As for his injuries, the physical aspects are all clear. He is 100 percent.

The issue, though, is mental side, which still has a ways to go.

“I’m still trying to get back to feeling and thinking when I was playing my best,” said Davies. “It’s coming back. But it takes time. I need to have a little success and it will come back quicker.”

His goal beginning tonight isn’t necessarily to score goals, though that would be nice. It is to help the Revs win.

“Coach (Jay) Heaps has been great,” said Davies. “I played against him. I knew him pretty well. He played for my coach at Boston College. It’s a great thing when you know a coach has confidence in you. That’s what I’ve needed, a coach who believed in me.

“I want to play and help the Revs win,” said Davies. “If get back to playing the way I know I can, and that means helping this team with scoring, this team shouldn’t have any issue with being a champion. I really believe it.”

You can email Bill Burt at bburt@eagletribune.com.

Davies had big game against Revs Charlie Davies has a small history with the New England Revolution, which includes him attending games in Foxboro during their first year in 1995 when he was eight years old. While playing for DC United in 2011, Davies scored one goal in a 2-1 loss to the Revs. In the second meeting, Davies scored two goals in a 3-1 win over the Revs, with one of those goals a memorable bicycle kick in front of the Revs netminder. "Believe me, I've brought it up to Jay (Heaps), Andy Dormant and Matt Reis," said Davies.