[MLS] Charlie Davies says he needed a change in scenery, and he thinks he's found it at D.C. United, which he joined on loan from the French club Sochaux on Wednesday. He'll play not far from the scene of the accident 16 months ago when he suffered life-threatening injuries in an early-morning crash that took the life of another passenger,
"I needed a new atmosphere, a new environment, and I found it and I'm extremely excited and happy," Davies said. "Ever since the beginning when I got out of the hospital bed, to the wheelchair, to the crutches, to walking, then to jogging on a treadmill, on each phase I wanted to do more. I always pushed myself to the limit. I think that's one of the main things that pushed me through."
Davies suffered multiple broken bones in the crash that kept him from playing in the 2010 World Cup.
He returned to French club Sochaux a year ago to rehabilitate but the closest he got to returning to the first team was one appearance on the bench in the late fall, a gesture on the part of his coach for his hard work more than anything else.
"I came back too early as far as training in France and I think I developed a lot of bad habits that for the past three or fourth months I've been breaking," Davies said. "It has just been very difficult. When you lose a ball, and you lose another ball, and you start hearing guys on your team starting going 'arrrgh' and then after that you're isolated from the game because no one wants to play you the ball -- the downs definitely outweighed the ups. In training I would do one move right and it would feel like the old me and that's what kept me going. These little 10-second moments during the day would keep me going and I'll remember that for the rest of my life."
Davies impressed at D.C. training camp in Florida, scoring a goal against Canada's under-20 team and two goals and an assists against Trinidad & Tobago's U-20s.
"He proved to us that he's on his way back to being the Charlie of old," said United coach Ben Olsen on Wednesday. "There's still some rust of being off that long and going through all the things that he went through. Our job is dusting that rust off and getting him back to that form we saw several years ago."