Davies brings much-needed attention - and bear hugs - to D.C. United

Dan Steinberg
Thursday, February 17, 2011

Truth be told, I've sort of ignored D.C. United for the better part of two years. I mean, when the Wizards and Redskins lose, they do so in spectacular fashion, with high-profile players getting suspended for firearm gags and failing shuttle tests and getting benched and traded and arrested. Missing the MLS playoffs can't compare with winning the NBA lottery.

But it seems United is making moves back into my journalistic sweet spot, with its quotable head coach, its increasingly charismatic roster and now, its addition of Charlie Davies, who does equally well on Google and on the field. Thus, a few items from Wednesday's introductory festivities.

1) He promises the Stanky Leg dance will return. A lot of people got a lot of joy out of his rendition of the Stanky Leg during U.S. international play. That, though, was a long time ago, so I asked whether he would bring the dance to RFK Stadium.

"I'm gonna have to pull that out at least one time. For sure," he told me. "I feel like it could have been [overplayed], but I feel like after this accident, people just haven't seen it in a while, and it needs to be seen. It just has to be. I think it's like a statement."

So, uh, what's the statement?

"I'm back," Davies said.

I also asked Coach Ben Olsen whether he was familiar with the dance.

"I've seen it, yeah," Olsen said. "I just hope to see it quite a bit this year. Hey, you score a goal, you can do whatever you want."

2) He wants to live in the city. For years, I've bemoaned the lack of star athletes living in the District of Columbia. Olsen was, for a long time, the standard bearer in this regard. Former Capitals enforcer Donald Brashear represented D.C. for a short time, and John Wall is a Washingtonian, for now. Well, add Davies to the list.

"I feel like it's a good place to live," said Davies, who's looking to rent in Georgetown. "I want to get to really know the city, so I felt like it's a good place to start."

3) He loves the bear hug. As has often been noted, Davies was an accomplished high school wrestler, one of the best in the country at his weight. He considered doing both wrestling and soccer in college, before choosing Boston College, which didn't have a wrestling program. And as he told Sports Illustrated, his favorite move was indeed the bear hug.

"You wrap around the ribs and squeeze," he said fondly. "Puts a lot of pressure, and basically makes you crumble. "

4) He hates cheese. I mean, this is a guy who played professionally in Sochaux, in France but near the Swiss and German border, in the land of washed-rind cheese and Comte and other things that make you cry with happiness. Surely he must love cheese, right?

"I hate cheese," he insisted. "I do, I hate cheese. Like, Raclette, you know that? They had that in my area. And, nuh-uh. I just don't like it. . . .The smell is the worst. That's the worst. Like puke or . . ."

Well, you get the idea. I almost ended the interview here and stormed off in a huff, but I hadn't yet asked about . . .

5) The Dougie. I mean, if he's going to do the Stanky Leg, it seems like he could also do the Dougie, right? That's what charismatic young D.C. stars do.

"I could do that, but I think it's already been done," Davies said. "I already have a new thing planned that's on my mind. I can't give the hint. I like to do a surprise."

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