FOXBORO, Mass.- Charlie Davies spent close to half an hour after Thursday's practice taking long range shots into an open net. Some went high, some went wide, and some clanged off the woodwork.
But most went in.
Each kick is a step in the right direction for Davies, who has been looking to rediscover his full, game-day fitness since he joined the Revolution on loan from Denmark's Randers last month.
"I feel good, but I've only been here three weeks," explained Davies outside the Revolution's locker room. "I'm adjusting to a new team and getting used to the training program here."
"I'm not trying to make a statement," he responded when asked about staying the longest on the practice field to take shots.
Davies, a native of Manchester, NH and a Boston College alumnus, has yet to start a game for the Revolution. He's made four appearances off the bench, all late in games. It's a lesson in patience for Davies, who wasn't expecting to start right away because of his lack of fitness and competition for playing time among the team's other strikers.
"I know I have to be patient and wait for my chance to get minutes to make a difference," he said.
"On every team you have to compete and you have to perform. If you're not performing, one game, two games, it's the next guy's turn. It provides a lot of competition in training."
Davies is competing with Diego Fagundez, Saer Sene, Chad Barrett, Juan Agudelo, and Dimitry Imbongo for starting minutes. All of those players are starting caliber in MLS. In the Revolution's hybrid 4-3-3 formation, only Fagundez and Agudelo have been mainstays, barring injuries.
If Davies can get on the field and make impact, he may be rewarded with a starting spot too. Head Coach Jay Heaps values the effort players put into practice. And if Thursday says anything about Davies, it's that he's going beyond team training sessions to get up to speed.
"Charlie's been in a difficult situation the last few years in regards to establishing a constant run," added Heaps. "We need to find more minutes and more games for him. At the same time, he's trying to fit himself into what we're doing."
At the height of Davies' career, he would have definitely been a starter for the Revolution. Those days were characterized by frequent stints with the US national team, scoring in the Confederations Cup, and signing for Sochaux, one of France's premier Ligue 1 teams.
That Charlie Davies was derailed by a life-threatening car accident in Washington DC in Oct. 2009 which sidelined him for months with injuries to his face, head, bladder, elbow, femur and tibia. His progress since then has been more than impressive.
The fact that he's still playing is nothing short of a miracle. He is regaining his speed and ability to get behind defenders. His shot is still powerful and accurate, too.
Nevertheless, Davies is still fighting to get back to where he was. A little over four years ago, he was on the US national team's shortlist to participate in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. Today, he's been out of the national team picture for almost half a decade.
World Cup dreams will have to wait. His immediate focus is helping the Revolution reach the playoffs. The postseason push continues this Saturday night when the Revolution host DC United, one of Davies' former teams, at Gillette Stadium.
After that, who knows? Davies is open to staying in New England after the end of the season.
"Playing here is something I can see myself doing long term," said Davies. "I've always paid attention to MLS. I love being a part of it. I love seeing the league grow. and I love being here and I want to make this organization one of the best in MLS."
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