United States Men’s Soccer Coach Bob Bradley has trimmed his pool of potential players for this summer’s trip to South Africa to 30. The biggest news coming from the announcement was the absence of Charlie Davies. If you don’t remember, Davies was involved in a near fatal car accident last year which left him with severe injures that looked certain to make him miss out on World Cup duty.
After an amazingly quick recovery, Davies returned to full training with his French club Sochaux. Although he has made significant progress, in the end Coach Bradley made the tough decision to leave Davies out of the US squad with concerns over his fitness and preparedness for the finals just under a month away.
“[The Davies decision] has been incredibly difficult,” U.S. manager Bob Bradley said in a broadcast interview with ESPN on Tuesday. “Charlie has shown so much heart in his work to get back from his injuries. We’ve monitored all of his workouts, we’ve had people [in France], we’ve observed him, and he remained part of the consideration right up until yesterday.
“In the end of it, we also had information from his club, whereby he hadn’t been given full medical clearance, and therefore was not given a full release to join the camp. And so when we put that together with everything, we just felt that right now, Charlie, it’s in his best interest to continue his rehab and continue so that he can get back to the level he was playing last year before the accident.”
The announcement that Davies would not be a part of the US team was made live on ESPN News by Coach Bob Bradley. Reacting to the decision via his Twitter account, Davies tweeted, “Thank you all for your continued support and words of encouragement. It was a very sad day for me, as well, but now focused for next season!”
Friend and teammate Jozy Altidore, who looks likely to start in attack for the U.S., offered his support online. “You’re a champion and a warrior no matter what anyone says and I’ll always have your back kid,” he wrote.
While the dream comeback for Davies is over, his absence does mean some unexpected opportunities for others including Hercules Gomez, Edson Buddle and Robbie Findley. Notable exclusions from the 30-man roster include Confederations Cup participant Conor Casey of the Colorado Rapids and once American soccer starlet Freddie Adu, both of whom have failed to impress with their recent form.