SANDY, UT - SEPTEMBER 05:  Jozy Altidore #17 and Charlie Davies #9 of the United States celebrate Altidore's goal  in the first half during the FIFA 2010 World Cup Qualifier match between the United States and El Salvador at Rio Tinto Stadium on September 5, 2009 in Sandy, Utah.  (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

I've called in Matt Acconciamessa of US Soccer Daily for a little for-and-against on the possibility of Charlie Davies making the US roster for the Brazil match next week; there are solid reasons for US Soccer to both bring Charlie home for the match and pass on his return for another day. Matt and I do our best to lay out each argument.


Against - Jason Davis

The US roster for the upcoming Brazil friendly at the New Meadowlands is tentatively scheduled to be released tomorrow per Goff the Insider. 52,000 tickets have been sold for the August 10th match, an odd transitional game expected to include most of the same American names we're used to seeing. Bob Bradley will coach the team despite an unresolved future status. Perhaps his chances of staying US coach even hinge on the game in some ridiculous way.

But the biggest potential news tomorrow would be a return to National Team duty for Charlie Davies. Rumors are swirling that it's possible, and with Davies participating fully with Sochaux in their pre-season preparations, there appears to be no prohibitions against Charlie suiting up for the US. It would certainly be an amazing moment if Charlie was able to get into the game against Brazil, his first competitive action for the United States since the terrible car accident last October.

Excuse me. I'm fighting the urge to throw a bucket of cold water on the idea.

Of course I want Charlie to come back and play for the National Team, and I suppose a meaningless friendly against Brazil is as good a place as any for it to happen. But shouldn't Charlie be giving everything he has to integrate himself into back the team at Sochaux? If Charlie's club career doesn't get restarted correctly, he'll be setting himself back much more than the 9 months or so he lost to injury. The future of Davies in a USA jersey won't be helped by a feel good moment in a game that means nothing.

There's no reason to rush this. Davies, provided he becomes the player we hope he can be post-accident, will get back into the team soon enough. The French season opens this weekend; Davies involvement, or lack thereof, in Sochaux's opener will give us an idea of where Charlie truly stands. If he's left out, he's clearly not ready to be playing for the National Team. If he's on the bench or starts, then perhaps calling him up won't do too much harm.

I suppose I could be convinced.

In the end it's a just a few days in Jersey and an opportunity to complete his international comeback. The risk is relatively low, beyond the ever-present chance of injury, and who doesn't want to see CD9 get an ovation from a large crowd of USA fans. I have no doubts the Brazil fans would join in as well.

It just feels too early. Is it wrong I want to see Charlie scoring in France before he makes a return to the National Team? He shouldn't be called in just because it would be nice to have him back.

You certainly don't call him in if there's no intention to play him. Of course, if Davies is in New Jersey next week and makes the field, I'll be pulling as hard for him as I ever have for any player. Right call or not, it would be a great thing to see.


For - Matt Acconciamessa

Three months later and we're having the same conversation all over again: should Charlie Davies get called into camp or not? Of course, this time around there is far less on the line; instead of a roster spot for international football's biggest tournament, we're talking about a call-up for a post-Cup friendly against an experimental side. But as was the case back in May, there's still some worthy arguments being made on both sides of the debate.

Jason has taken the no-call-up route and makes some good points as to why calling Charlie into camp just isn't necessary at this point in time. I'm not completely sold one way or another, but for the sake of debate, I'll play devil's advocate and make a case for bringing Chuck into camp for the first friendly of the 2014 cycle.

Back in May, the key issue for those opposed to bringing Chuck to Princeton was his health. Despite positive vibes on Twitter and the utterly mind-boggling progress he was able to make in the months following that tragic October accident, Charlie still wasn't at 100%, making his selection a risk on both a team and individual level. This time around, however, Charlie is healthy; he's participating in Sochaux's preseason friendlies and training normally, seemingly on track to get back to his starting role with the Ligue 1 side at some point this year.

But full health shouldn't be the basis of a call-up, as we all know; if being able-bodied was the only criteria, I'd be capped by now (or, more likely, complaining about repeated snubs). There's the matter of whether or not Charlie would actually deserve the spot, or if there might be someone else who is more deserving.

It's hard to say that there isn't space up front up for grabs. With Jozy Altidore seemingly on the brink of moving to a new club in the coming weeks, it might be in his best interests to miss out on international duty and instead focus on integrating himself into whatever team ends up bringing him aboard. Herculez Gomez might be in the same boat, as he is still trying to establish himself with Pachuca in the opening weeks of the new season. Bob Bradley, love him or hate him, is very conscience of players' club situations and is myopic enough to understand when it might be in a player's best interest to stay with their employer rather than take part in international duty (see the value he put on Sochaux's assessment last spring as evidence of that). Add in Robbie Findley's middling performance in South Africa and Real Salt Lake's August 11th match, and there seems to be a decent chance that there will be some holes in the World Cup 23 that will need to be filled.

So why not Chuck? Brazil are using this friendly to experiment with a lot of young players who missed the cut for South Africa; why not do the same, to a much smaller extent? If healthy, Charlie will almost certainly be on next summer's Gold Cup roster, so why not begin the process of reintegrating him in the national team picture as soon as possible?

The easiest counter to that is that it may lead to a step back or stagnancy at the club level; playing in a meaningless post-World Cup friendly is hardly as important as reestablishing himself with Sochaux in the week leading up to their second league match. This is the big caveat to my whole argument: it should only be done if Sochaux deem it acceptable. If Charlie would be missing something material during the international break, it's in his best interests to just stick around and keep plugging along with Les Lionceaux. Once again, this is something that Bob will almost certainly have in mind when making his roster decisions.

But if Sochaux gives him their blessing, what risk is there to doing this? The benefits, meanwhile, can extend beyond the actual on-field stuff and into US Soccer's coffers.

Think about it: the triumphant return of the US World Cup squad, playing in front of their now-adoring public (okay, perhaps a stretch) for the first time since their memorable run in South Africa. That's definitely something that ESPN will pay attention to. But alas, it's just a friendly, and there's only so much attention a match without much meaning can get. But what if that homecoming was compounded by the remarkable and emotional return of Charlie Davies, the man who nearly died less than a year ago? That's a story begging to be written by every sports journalist across the country and something that the folks in Bristol would surely have a field day with.

That extra attention in the media might lead to increased ticket sales, increased viewership, or simply a higher, sustained level of interest in the USMNT from sports fans across the country. Increased attention eventually translates into added dollars at some point down the road, so it can only be a good thing if media outlets across the country are dedicating some more pieces to the Yanks.

Is that a stretch? Perhaps. It's hard to say how big of an impact that added attention would have in terms of dollars and cents. But the potential for such a benefit is there, whereas the risks of such a call-up would be slim to none (assuming Sochaux gives the go-ahead).

I'm still not completely sold on one argument or another and will probably just wait until the actual announcement to impart my 20/20 hindsight wisdom. As I was writing this, I even found myself questioning it over and over again, waffling so much that it'd make Brett Favre blush. But perhaps these are some of the things being thrown back and forth at US Soccer HQ as Bob Bradley tries to assemble what could very well be his last roster as USMNT head coach. After making the tough decisions back in May, I doubt this one will really keep him up at night.

I guess we'll know soon enough which side of the argument he is on.


There you have it, both sides of the question of whether CD9 should be in the squad for the Brazil match. I'm not sure either of us are entirely convinced of our own arguments (Matt admits as much), which only serves to illustrate how difficult the situation is even now. Healthy and playing, there's still a long way for Davies to go before he can be termed fully "back." We should find out tomorrow which of these viewpoints carries more weight in the minds of Bob Bradley and US Soccer.

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