Charlie Davies has been left off the USA World Cup squad. Last October Davies was in a horrific car accident that killed one of the passengers and left Davies with multiple broken bones and severe lacerations. Yet Davies mounted an inspirational comeback and declared his intentions to make it to the World Cup. But yesterday, with the release of the US provisional 30 man squad (it still has to be cut to 23) US coach Bob Bradley killed the comeback story. He is the bad guy and is attracting the ire of US fans. But in the clear light of day, the fact that Bob Bradley made this cruel decision, should give US fans more, not less, faith in him as a coach.
Davies was a revelation last year and American fans dreamed of Davies and Altidore partnering in South Africa, especially after a year of seasoning at the highest levels of European club football. Sadly that won't happen. But that isn't Bob Bradley's fault.
Ives Galcarep, a veteran reporter, perhaps hyped expectations to an unrealistic level when he visited and profiled Davies comeback in the spring and concluded he would make the squad. The fact is that in soccer -- especially the World Cup -- it is not simply good enough to be healthy again. Being in form and achieving match fitness takes time to achieve. Davies had not touched a soccer ball for almost six months. He recently entered full training, but it was always going to take a lot of time for Davies to get back to where he once was.
The fact is that Bob Bradley gave Davies the chance. He sent a US trainer to Sochaux to evaluate him -- clearly the trainer didn't clear Davies. The club itself didn't think he wasn't medically fit enough to play in matches. Now one could argue Sochaux has an incentive not to have him play in the World Cup and risk further injury. But so does the US, and most clubs want their players in the World Cup, as it tends to boost their values, since the World Cup is a talent scouting meat market.
Davies was always a long shot after the tragic and horrific accident. Yet all of us longed to see him on the plane to Jo-berg and if it were up to us fans, probably 90 percent of us would have brought him even if he wasn't fit. But this is what you pay coaches for -- to make the hard, cold-blooded decisions that in the end are in the best interests of the team.