Charlie Davies isn’t playing for D.C. United anymore, but in an interview with MLS ExtraTime Radio, the French-based American striker had plenty of thoughts to share about his one season in Washington and his role under Coach Ben Olsen.
Initially in the interview, Davies expressed appreciation to United for taking him on loan from Sochaux and providing an opportunity to return to first-team soccer after his recovery from the October 2009 car accident that severely injured him.
“It was a wonderful experience for me,” he said, adding that “Benny was good for me.”
But his tone began to turn when asked about the process in which United declined an option to purchase his contract or extend the loan
“They never really told me what they were feeling. They never exactly came to me and said, ‘You know, we’re going to keep you, we’re not going to keep you and see what happens.’ I kind of got the feeling they were planning on trying to keep me and maybe get a trade going [in MLS]. … I was in the dark, and all of a sudden, my agent called and said they weren’t going to take the option.”
Davies has since returned to France and is trying to crack the game-day roster for the Ligue 1 club.
Asked whether United communicated with him in general, Davies said:
“No, and that’s what is disappointing for me. It made it harder for me to accept the role I was presented with because there wasn’t too much communication. It went from: ‘Charlie, you’re the main man, we need you to score goals, let’s get you the ball, create chances. We’re confident in you.’
“To ‘Okay, DeRo [midseason acquisition Dwayne De Rosario, the 2011 MLS MVP] is the man, get him the ball, just make crazy, deep runs and stretch the defense to have space for him.’
“To really no communication: ‘When you play, get off the bench, make something happen.’
“I didn’t understand how I go from being one of the main guys on the team for creating and scoring goals to, when the team really needs points, I was on the bench. It was hard to deal with. Like every footballer around the world, they go through these times. They have to be professional and handle it in the right way, and I believe I did.”
Davies started just one of the final four matches, playing 75 minutes in that time, and didn’t appear in the season finale. He was second on the club in regular season goals with 11 but after recording a hat trick at Chivas USA on Sept. 10, he didn’t score in his last four appearances.
Davies said he expressed his displeasure about playing time with the coaching staff.
“Benny is hard-headed when he makes a decision, and that’s that. I definitely voiced my opinion in his office and let him know I wasn’t happy the way things had gone and the communication. … I’m definitely disappointed with the way things have worked out and how the season ended. I felt like D.C. United was a team that had so much potential that we didn’t fulfill. We really underachieved. We definitely, definitely should’ve been in the playoffs.
“It’s a stinger to me when the coach doesn’t think you’re a player that can get you results and points, especially when I feel like I was exactly what the team was missing – putting the ball in the back of the net.”
United was in prime position to earn a playoff berth before earning just one point in the final six matches. It scored six goals in those games.
Asked about his $20 million lawsuit against the nightclub and party promoters who allegedly served alcohol to the driver of the vehicle involved in the accident, Davies said:
“If you enter a near-death situation and derail where your life is going, that [taking legal action] is the most normal thing anyone would do in those circumstances.”
What was the public’s reaction to the case?
“From Twitter, I got a lot of hate messages. Not a lot of people know the details and obviously no one went through what I had to go through, see the pain I had to go through. It’s easy to generalize and stereotype and say negative things from the outside but when you go through it, it’s completely different.”
Olsen and a United spokesman didn’t immediately return messages seeking comment for this story. Should they choose to respond, I will share their thoughts as soon as possible. [UPDATE: DCU officials said they didn’t want to comment.]
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