DC United’s Charlie Davies gets regular pedicures. Seriously, he does.
And he was gracious enough to let us grab the pedicure chair next to him recently and chat. We can honestly say that it was the most interesting pedicure we’ve ever gotten.
During the ritual of filing, buffing, and lotioning, we learned a lot about the DC United star, and we’ll be sharing these stories with you over the next few weeks. The Pedicure Files, if you will.
As we sat side-by-side in what would be an uncomfortable situation for some men, it struck us how easygoing Davies is. He invited us along without hesitation and it speaks volumes to the type of person he is.
Davies has become a force on the soccer pitch, but it was only by accident that he started playing soccer at all. He grew up following American football and the NFL was his love. But a simple miscommunication when he was just 6 years old changed his course.
“One day I came home from school with a paper for what I thought was football tryouts,” Davies tells us. “I showed my dad and he was so happy. I’ve never seen him so happy. He said ‘Is this what you want to do?’ and I said ‘Yeah’.”
So without another word Davies’ dad, Charles Kofi Davies, took him out and got him soccer cleats, shin guards and a soccer ball.
It turns out the form Davies brought home from school wasn't for American football, but for a soccer travel team.
Davies' father was known for his strict ways, and it was unheard of to argue with him, so Davies kept quiet despite his confusion.
“I was thinking in my head, ‘What is this all for?’” he remembers. “But I was scared of my dad so I didn’t say anything.”
Davies had never played organized soccer before the day he tried out for that travel team. He ran around attempting to look like he knew what we was doing, but he ultimately didn’t make the team. The rejection didn’t sit well with the elder Davies, and he sat Charlie down and told him how it was going to be.
“My dad said, ‘If this is what you’re going to do, you’re going to be the best at it,’” Charlie says, as the woman tending to his feet began a ritualistic leg massage. “I had no choice. Every day I would come home, do my homework and then it was straight out to the field. I would come back in when it was too dark and I couldn’t see the ball anymore. I would probably cry at least twice a day. But I did it every single day for years.”
Several weeks after that first fateful tryout, the scout from the travel team came out to see Charlie’s team play in a recreation league. Charlie scored multiple goals in that game, earning him an invite from the travel coach to come play with the team. His dad didn’t take kindly to an offer that came too late for his liking.
“My dad said 'Never.' He took me to the rival team across town, and I played with them and we beat the team I had originally tried out for,” Davies recalls.
His father was born and raised in Gambia and emigrated to the U.S. when he was 18. And he spent most of this life playing soccer. A disciplined man, he taught Charlie to be diligent and thorough.
“I loved working hard. I loved coming home and being dead tired,” says Charlie. “And it was cool to see how much it meant to my dad that I played. He could live through me, almost.”
Charlie spent the rest of his childhood playing multiple sports, but soccer was his No. 1 priority. It wasn’t until a trip to see the World Cup that he truly fell in love with the game.
“The 1994 Cup really opened my eyes to the game of soccer,” he explains. “I went to a game at Foxboro Stadium, and it was probably the worst game of that World Cup, South Korea and Bolivia. But just the atmosphere and the passion and seeing what it means to people. I was like, wow. This is the sport for me.”
He sits back for a minute and closes his eyes as his leg massage travels south to his feet.
“My dad never wanted to push me into soccer,” he says after a moment of reflection. “But as soon as I gave him the opening, he took it and ran. I think it’s worked out well for me.”