Sounders FC fans supported Charlie Davies in his darkest hour, and the D.C. United forward hasn't forgotten.
Charlie Davies’ apartment walls are covered with Sounders FC banners, scarves and flags — all with deep significance to the 25-year-old forward.
“You’d almost think I played for the Seattle Sounders because of all the memorabilia I have,” he said, joking, in a phone interview.
No, Davies plays for D.C. United, the Sounders’ MLS opponent at 6 p.m. Saturday at CenturyLink Field. But even though he won’t be wearing rave green, he’s eager to reconnect with Seattle fans who supported him through his darkest days.
On Oct. 13, 2009, Davies was a passenger in a fatal car accident in the Washington D.C. area. Then a starter for the U.S. men’s national team, he suffered a lacerated bladder, a broken tibia and femur in his right leg, a fractured left elbow, facial injuries and bleeding on the brain.
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Eleven days later, Sounders FC fans offered encouragement for the hospitalized Davies by holding up placards with his No. 9 jersey number in the ninth minute of a home game against FC Dallas.
The message hit home almost 3,000 miles away.
“It meant so much to me just to see the support and the pictures,” said a grateful Davies. “Just the environment and the atmosphere that the Sounders’ fans provided and the support they showed, it really moved me. To this day, it still touches me pretty deep when I think about the way they supported me and put those No. 9s up. It spoke volumes.”
Some Sounders fans use Twitter to keep in touch with Davies, who scored one of his four international goals in Seattle (the U.S. beat Grenada 4-0 here in the CONCACAF Gold Cup on July 4, 2009). They say they’re rooting for him — except for the two days a year he plays against the Sounders.
The mutual admiration is so strong that Davies said a goal celebration would be subdued should he score Saturday.
“Most likely, I’d just head back to our side,” he said.
Sounders players also remember the 2009 tribute.
Forward Mike Fucito, who played with Davies in high school, watched in the press box and said the sea of No. 9 cards gave him chills.
“It just shows how great the fans are and how much he was appreciated as a player,” said Fucito, who hasn’t shared the field with Davies since they won a New England championship together at the Brooks School in North Andover, Mass.
Added coach Sigi Schmid: “It was a great tribute that the Sounders fans gave him based upon the tragic accident that he suffered, (one that) derailed his career for a bit of time.”
Back in action, Davies hopes his recovery can inspire others. He never tires of retelling his story. The accident, though, took a heavy toll.
Extensive rehabilitation prevented Davies from regaining his spot with the U.S. team in time for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. He then struggled to work his way back into the lineup with his club team, Sochaux in France’s Ligue 1.
An opportunity arose, of all places, in the same city where catastrophe struck.
“D.C. United took chance on me,” said Davies. “They said, ‘We believe in this guy. We know it’ll take a little bit to get it going, but we’ll take that chance.’ I’m so thankful for that.”
Davies has paid it forward. He scored all three goals in Saturday’s 3-0 road win against Chivas USA and was MLS Player of the Week. His 11 goals are tied for third in the league, just one behind superstars Landon Donovan and Thierry Henry.
Finally back to 100-percent both physically and mentally, Davies has set his sights on a return to the national team, but even he had questions on how much he’d be able to contribute when he came back.
An old pal didn’t.
“I knew. He’s a fighter,” Fucito said. “He’s one of the best athletes I’ve ever met. I knew if anyone could do it, it’d be him. … I think he’s proved a lot of people wrong, in a good way, and it’s only going to get better from here.”
• The MLS deadline for roster moves was Thursday. Sounders FC was inactive.
Joshua Mayers: 206-464-3184 or firstname.lastname@example.org