WASHINGTON — Charlie Davies’ comeback from a deadly car crash took a major step forward Wednesday when D.C. United opted to keep him on the team for the MLS season.
United completed a deal to take Davies on loan from French club Sochaux, having decided he’s sufficiently regained his playing form 16 months after a car crash that cost him his chance at a spot on the U.S. World Cup team.
Davies spent last week with United at training camp in Florida on a tryout basis. He scored a goal in a preseason scrimmage against the Canadian under-20 team and had two goals and an assist in the second half of an exhibition against the Trinidad and Tobago under-20 squad.
United general manager Dave Kasper said the club also subjected Davies to "a full battery of physical and medical testing" before completing the deal. Davies will remain with United as the team travels to California for the next stage of training camp.
United’s season opens March 19 against Columbus.
Davies’ new playing home takes him back to the area where he nearly lost his life. The U.S. team was in Washington preparing for a World Cup qualifier in October 2009 when he stayed out past curfew and was a passenger in a one-car accident on the George Washington Parkway.
Davies suffered a broken and dislocated left elbow, broken bones in his right leg, and a broken nose, forehead and eye socket. He also had a ruptured bladder and bleeding on the brain.
Another passenger died in the crash, and the driver is scheduled to be sentenced next month after pleading guilty to involuntary manslaughter and drunken driving.
After the surgeries, Davies returned to his French club but didn’t come close to recovering his form in time to play for the U.S. in the World Cup in South Africa last summer. Since the accident, his only playing time for Sochaux has come in exhibitions, which means he hasn’t appeared in a full competitive match since a World Cup qualifier at Honduras on Oct. 10, 2009.
Davies, 24, has four goals in 17 international appearances for the U.S. team. United hopes he’ll add some scoring punch to a team looking to rebuild after the worst season in franchise history. United won just six of 30 games and scored only 21 goals in 2010.