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Posted at 4:37 PM ET, 02/16/2011

Charlie Davies on the bear hug, the Stanky Leg, Georgetown and Raclette

By Dan Steinberg


Truth be told, I've sort of ignored D.C. United for the better part of two years. I mean, when the Wizards and Redskins lose, they do so in spectacular fashion, with high-profile players getting suspended for gun gags and failing shuttle tests and getting benched and traded and arrested. Missing the MLS playoffs can't compare with winning the NBA lottery.

But it seems United is making moves back into my sweet spot, with its quotable head coach, its increasingly charismatic roster and now, its addition of Charlie Davies, who does equally well on Google and on the field. Thus, nine items from Wednesday's introductory festivities.

1) He promises the Stanky Leg will return. A lot of people got a lot of joy out of Davies's rendition of the Stanky Leg during U.S. international play. That, though, was a long time ago, so I asked whether he would bring the dance to RFK Stadium.

"I'm gonna have to pull that out at least one time. for sure," he told me. "I feel like it could have been [overplayed], but I feel like after this accident, people just haven't seen it in a while, and it needs to be seen. It just has to be. I think it's like a statement."

So, uh, what's the statement?

"I'm back," Davies said.

I also asked Coach Ben Olsen whether he was familiar with the dance.

"I've seen it, yeah," Olsen said. "I just hope to see it quite a bit this year. Hey, you score a goal, you can do whatever you want."

2) He wants to live in the city. For years, I've bemoaned the lack of star athletes living in the actual District of Columbia. Olsen was, for a long time, the standard bearer in this regard. Donald Brashear represented D.C. for a short time, and John Wall is a Washingtonian now. Well, add Davies to the list.

"I feel like it's a good place to live," Davies said. "I want to get to really know the city, so I felt like it's a good place to start."

He's specifically trying to rent in Georgetown, which he called an "unbelievable neighborhood" that reminds him of his prep school in New England. So if you know of any leads....I don't think he's looking for a group house situation, necessarily.

3) He hates cheese. I mean, this is a guy who played professionally in Sochaux, in France but near the Swiss and German border, in the land of washed-rind cheese and Comte and other things that make you cry with happiness. Surely he must love cheese, right?

"I hate cheese," he insisted. "I do, I hate cheese. Like, Raclette, you know that? They had that in my area. And, nuh-uh. I just don't like it....The smell is the worst. That's the worst. Like puke or..."

Well, you get the idea. I almost ended the interview here and stormed off in a huff, but I hadn't yet asked about....

4) The Dougie. I mean, if he's going to do the Stanky Leg, it seems like he could also do the Dougie, right?

"I could do that, but I think it's already been done," Davies said. "I already have a new thing planned that's on my mind. I can't give the hint. I like to do a surprise."

5) He loves the bear hug. As has often been noted, Davies was an accomplished high school wrestler, one of the best in the country at his weight. He considered doing both wrestling and soccer in college, before choosing Boston College, which didn't have a wrestling program. And as he told Sports Illustrated, his favorite move was indeed the bear hug.

"You wrap around the ribs and squeeze," he said fondly. "Puts a lot of pressure, and basically makes you crumble....I love the intensity [of wrestling]. You're one-on-one vs. a guy and you're gonna show him up. I love that."

This naturally led to a discussion of who would win a D.C. United battle royale, which naturally led someone to point out that Olsen is fairly scrappy.

"He'd be the first one I'd go after then," Davies said. "Get him out of the way."

6) Will he be a fan favorite? Olsen said several times that this city will embrace Davies, and that this is already happening. I asked the coach why he thought that.

"I don't know," Olsen said. "Maybe it's he same reason I like the kid. He's a good kid. He's a friendly kid. He's a respectful kid. He works his tail off. He's coachable. He has a certain way about him. If you're around him, you like him. He's a likable kid. And I think people see that. "

Then Olsen paused and smiled.

"Putting all that aside, he's fast, you know what I mean?" he said. "So we can talk about that stuff all night, but I like the speed, too."

(And if you care about the soccer stuff, Davies knows how to talk pretty.

"It's not just to get back to what I was. The goal still is to be better than I was before," he said. "As a striker, my job is to score goals....I'm gonna take it upon myself when I do get the chance to play to do the best I can, to score as much as I can, because that's my job.")

7) He wants to bring D.C. United back. At the end of his press conference, Davies said he wants to "put D.C. back into their winning ways of the past, that I remember [about D.C. United when I first started watching MLS soccer."

So I figured I needed to ask if he remembered watching a youthful Ben Olsen.

"I remember him, but I remember mostly Etcheverry, Diaz Arce, Moreno, those guys," Davies said. "It's actually pretty special. I've always wanted to raise that trophy and have the confetti fall on you. It'd be pretty special to do that here."

8) He had Honduran nightmares. This actually isn't funny, at all. There were dozens of questions about Davies's car accident in the D.C. area, and he explained that he remembers virtually nothing of that night, which might have helped him recover. In fact, he said when he woke up in the hospital, he had no idea where he was.

"The only thing I remember is getting in the car, putting on my seat belt and waking up in the hospital," he told reporters. "Waking up in the hospital and thinking I'm in a hostel in Honduras was definitely not too exciting. I didn't know how I got there. I thought I was in Honduras. The only thing I could do was panic. I started taking the staples out of my stomach, actually, until the nurse ran over and stopped me."

9) But he doesn't want to forget. Davies talked several times about sort of incorporating the accident into his life story. He also has kept his hair extremely short and said he always will, so that the massive, looping scar is clearly visible at a great distance.

"It's like a smiley face, with one eye," he said, describing the red, hook-shaped marks. "It's a reminder. I'm proud of what I had to go through to get back. It shows a reminder of humility and appreciation, to not take anything for granted."

By Dan Steinberg  | February 16, 2011; 4:37 PM ET
Categories:  D.C. United  
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Comments

Dude is already more popular than 99% of the Natinals roster.

Good for him.

DCU is the most recent team to bring a title home to DC.

Posted by: P00PY_MCP00P | February 16, 2011 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Technically, P00PY, that distinction belongs to the Kastles.

Posted by: spidergoose | February 16, 2011 4:53 PM | Report abuse

#9, he doesn't want to forget? Is that why he signed with a team so close in proximity to where the fatal accident took place? Seems like people already forgot someone died in that crash and that he was breaking team curfew when it happened. I know this blog entry is light-hearted and gearing away from the accident itself, but we can't forget someone's life was taken.

Interestingly enough, the sentencing for Maria Espinoza is scheduled in just two days, February 18th. She faces 13 years for involuntary manslaughter and DWI...she cooperated fully, pleaded guilty, and comes from a family with plenty of money for legal counsel. Anywhere close to 13 years will be shocking to say the least.

I wonder how differently the stories written and upcoming sentencing would go if it were Davies killed in that crash and not Ashley Roberta. R.I.P girl.

DISCLAIMER: I'm NOT blaming Davies for what happened...he jumped in a car with good looking girls he met and thought they were fine to drive him home. So many of us are guilty of decisions similar or worse, yet will never have suffer the same consequences.

Posted by: BurtRubbish | February 16, 2011 6:34 PM | Report abuse

Dan, I think DCU's recent trend of mixing bland mediocrity, garden-variety suckitude, and the general lack of joy and quirkiness around RFK lets you off the hook for not writing too much about them. I mean, I blog specifically about United and I could barely muster up the will to write about them last season.

It does look like a much more interesting group this year, though. There are more characters, more intriguing players (maybe not any Boswell or Esky-level characters, but still an improvement), and the team seems a bit more bold under Olsen in general.

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | February 16, 2011 6:36 PM | Report abuse

At Burtrubbish, you're right about the girl driving, had she killed the soccer star instead, her trial may be more difficult. Just look at the situation involving the wide receiver from the ravens, stallworth. DUI and kills a guy, spends a few weeks in jail, house arrest and that's it. Then there's the guy who was driving drunk that killed the pitcher from the Angels. 55 year sentence! and not eligible for parole until 49th year...unreal. make it equal for everyone! dwi is dwi regardless of your background!

Posted by: covertops26 | February 17, 2011 12:45 AM | Report abuse

I know this blog entry is light-hearted and gearing away from the accident itself, but we can't forget someone's life was taken.

Posted by: BurtRubbish
-------------------------------------

I know you are not suggesting Charlie was at fault in the accident (and he wasn't, other than being out after curfew at all), and yes, there was precious young life lost that night, but must every discussion of Charlie and soccer from now on include the accident, too? I'd say that's unfair to Charlie, and not in the least disrespectful to the memory of Ashley Roberta.

Welcome to DC, CD9!

Vamos United!

Posted by: PrinceBuster21 | February 17, 2011 12:51 AM | Report abuse

We have a soccer team? I kid, I kid....

Posted by: Hondo5 | February 17, 2011 7:54 AM | Report abuse

Truth be told, i've ignored Dan Steinberg for the better part of...forever but he seems to be making a move back into my sweet spot by writing about DC United.

Wow, now that I read back over that, it sounds kind of belittling. Sorry about that, Dan.

Posted by: michanikos1 | February 17, 2011 9:24 AM | Report abuse

@ Spidergoose

We shouldn't include the Kastle's since Fenty actually built them a stadium!

Posted by: edmundburke247 | February 17, 2011 10:19 AM | Report abuse

"...Charlie Davies, who does equally well on Google and on the field."

Does anybody get what Dan means by this? Is he suggesting that Dan Googled Davies and found a lot of content? Or that Davies spends a lot of time doing Internet searches?

Posted by: WorldCup | February 17, 2011 12:08 PM | Report abuse

That's a pretty loose definition of "stadium," edmundburke. :)

Posted by: spidergoose | February 17, 2011 12:50 PM | Report abuse

If I recall correctly, the only players under curfew were the ones who were going to start/dress up for the Honduras game; Charlie wasn't going to play or be on the bench so he was not under curfew.
Sad story, a young girl dead, another in jail, and one of the most promising soccer stars' potentially brilliant career pushed back. I think the USA would have made the WC semi-finals with Charlie on the squad (remember the goal against Mexico in Mexico?).
As a DC United fan, I welcome Charlie Davies!!! I have always admired him and I look forward to cheering him on at RFK.
VAMOS UNITED!!!

Posted by: victorgg | February 17, 2011 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Wow, Dan still writes for WaPo? hadn't noticed in a couple years...

Posted by: Voodoodiver | February 17, 2011 10:12 PM | Report abuse

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