Speaking prior to Charlie Davies' arrival from Europe, D.C. United Head Coach Ben Olsen took time to reflect on the looming inclusion of the United States National Team forward in his preseason camp. Things have been clipping along at a brisk pace in Fort Lauderdale, and Olsen pulls no punches when discussing Davies' trial period and his current crop of players. As the Black-and-Red head into their fourth day of training in the Sunshine State, practice sessions are sure to intensify with Davies' presence in camp.
Talk to us about bringing Charlie Davies into preseason camp.
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Before his accident [in 2009], I think we all know that Charlie was one of the best forwards in this country. Obviously he has been through quite a lot since then, and to his credit he has got himself back to playing form. Where that playing form is, that’s something we need to evaluate this week to see if [Davies] is right for D.C. United.
Was the need to understand Davies’ current playing level the catalyst behind this initial evaluation period?
Let’s not sugarcoat it – this kid has been through a lot. We need to see where he’s at, he’s come such a long way, and to his credit he has beaten the odds in a lot of ways. We need to see if he is ready to play at a high level again, we have to learn where he is physically and if he is right for this club.
What do you expect from Davies under these circumstances?
I’ve played with Charlie, he’s a great kid and a fierce competitor. Of course in an ideal situation he comes here and does fantastic, and we move forward together. But again, we have to evaluate him and see where he’s at and see if he’s the right fit for us.
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How is the team looking in the early going in Fort Lauderdale?
Things are great right now. Practices are fast, crisp, and intense. Guys are excited to be a part of this group, but again I always say that everyone is optimistic around this time of year. We’ve got a lot of work to do before we start the season.
Although it is early, there seems to be good energy with your group as the players come together for the first time. Your thoughts...
This is a new chapter in the history of D.C. United. I think our players feel that this is a new group that has the capability to be a very good team over the next couple of years. I like to think that we are building something special here. Again, it’s optimistic, but we have a lot of young and talented guys that I feel can make a difference. If we get these players on the same page and in the right frame of mind, over the next couple of years we can become a very impressive team.
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