Of Charlie Davies, denial, entitlement and brief career arcs

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The arc of Charlie Davies’ career path has been difficult to watch for U.S. Soccer supporters.

Last week Davies left his French club for Randers FC in Denmark; whether this is the termination point on his professional spiral or just another stop remains in question.

This story at Goal.com hits the right note. It’s a timeline of a path to destruction. Not destruction of the man’s ability; that awful car crash back in 2009 did that.

Rather, it’s a walk back through a thought process that was always tainted by denial and unrealistic expectations. Worse, his feelings and comments were perennially self-serving. In his comeback bid, heroic as emotionally invested supporters wanted to see it, Davies always managed to make it about himself.

I always thought his misguided sentiments stemmed from being naïve, not from being a bad fellow. Still, the collateral damage was the same.

It was never about the team, about the organizations (the clubs and the U.S. national team) that were straining so hard to support him – and mostly holding their tongues as Davies sometimes challenged them publicly. So along the way he created a lot of bad feelings, taking his self-important message public while putting his teams in some bad spots, making the coaches and organizations look like the bad guys.

The bottom line is that Davies, post-car crash, never returned to excellence; he was just OK, and sometimes not even that. But the story was inspiring, so fans bought in, sometimes seeing what they wanted while averting eyes to the harsher realities. Some of Davies’ early success at D.C. United turned out to be a mirage, although some media voices (including mine, as you can see here) were warning that things might not be what they seem.

Davies’ story has always been an emotional one. Still is, so supporters need not feel badly about mis-reads along the way.

Bottom line here: let’s hope the man changes his attitude and drops the harmful entitlement cargo. He’s not a “young striker” anymore, now 26 years old. Davies career started in Scandinavia; maybe it’s also the spot where the former U.S. international can get things pointed in the right direction once again.