[AMERICANS ABROAD] Following his return this winter to Sochaux after being seriously injured in a car crash that took the life of another passenger, Charles Davies set as his goal to return to Ligue 1 action in the spring and make the U.S. World Cup team.
It's now August, and Sochaux coach Francis Gillot says Davies isn't ready. The news isn't surprising given the multiple injuries Davies suffered in the accident, but it's a blow to Sochaux, already thin up front and coming off a terrible preseason.
"It's going to be complicated to count on him," said Gillot recently. "He's going to need much more time to come back."
The Sochaux says Davies, who played in several preseason games with the first team and then played for the reserves, is limited physically.
"He needs to relearn practically everything," said Gillot. "It's difficult for him. He's worked very hard, but he sees well that he isn't where he was when he arrived here."
Carlos Bocanegra only joined his new club, St. Etienne, two weeks ago, but he has already settled in with the Verts at left back, where he should start Saturday against Paris St. Germain before joining the U.S. national team for its game against Brazil on Tuesday.
A deal to send the U.S. captain from Rennes to St. Etienne almost took place during the January transfer window, and St. Etienne was happy to finally get him at a bargain transfer fee estimated at $200,000.
Once one of the great teams of French soccer, St. Etienne now struggles to stay in the elite, so it was happy to get Bocanegra, prized for his leadership and versatility.
Albin Ebondo, another summer signing, and Bocanegra will take over as the St. Etienne outside backs.
Quentin Westberg, who played for the USA in the 2003 Under-17 and 2005 Under-20 World Cups, has been spent the summer in Vichy, training with the UNFP selection -- a team of unemployed players sponsored by the French players' union.
After eight seasons at Troyes, Westberg was unceremoniously dropped after helping it win promotion back to the Second Division after a year in the third division "National" league.
He finally got his chance to start in goal and excelled for Troyes, but the club's management cut him loose against the advice of its coach.
The UNFP has been training in Vichy and playing visiting teams looking for matches, but even Westberg, still only 24, admits it's not easy for a goalie to get picked up.