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U.S. soccer star Davies rips his European club after it ripped his ability

Photo by MATHIEU CUGNOT

Photo by MATHIEU CUGNOT

PARIS -- Charlie Davies is blaming Sochaux for his failure to make the United States' preliminary squad for the World Cup, saying he feels "let down" by his French club.

The striker claims Sochaux president Alexandre Lacombe wrote to the U.S. coaching staff without his knowledge, saying Davies was not fit enough to play at the World Cup and that the club would not medically clear him.

Davies, who was nearly killed in a car accident last October, told French radio station RMC late Wednesday that he was capable of playing in the tournament in South Africa and felt "very hurt, very sad" and "very angry."

"It's frustrating because for the past months I've been training with the (Sochaux) team," Davies said. "I've progressed a lot, I continue to progress, I still have to progress but I'm definitely ready to play."

The 23-year-old Davies, who was omitted from the 30-man roster, said he was stunned when he learned about the letter after speaking with U.S. coach Bob Bradley.

"It's a very strange situation, I feel hurt because I feel like I've been let down by my club," Davies said.

Davies, who insisted he will stay at Sochaux next season because of his good relationship with his teammates, said he spoke with Bradley before the coach released his provisional list.

"Bob Bradley called me the night before the selection was put out to the press," Davies said. "He explained to me that Sochaux sent a letter saying they were not going to clear me medically and wouldn't release me to go with the national team. And that this had a big part to play in not being able to select me."

Davies, who said he hasn't spoken with Lacombe since the car accident, told RMC he was first devastated and "then it turned into anger."

Davies, who is in his first season with Sochaux, sustained severe injuries last October in a car accident in Virginia that killed another passenger. He had a broken left elbow, a broken right femur, tibia and fibula, and a broken nose, forehead and eye socket. He also was left with a ruptured bladder, and bleeding on the brain.

Davies returned to training with Sochaux in March only to hear Lacombe tell a news conference last month that the striker wouldn't recover in time to play this season.

"I'm very angry because I feel FC Sochaux has denied me a chance at playing in the World Cup," Davies said. "Of course I'm not at 100 percent now but I feel that by the time our World Cup camp starts next week I would be at a level where I can compete for one of the forward spots."

U.S. players will gather next week for training camp at Princeton, N.J. The Americans leave for South Africa on May 30, and open the World Cup against England on June 12.

"By the first game against England, I feel I would be able to be at 100 percent and really contribute for the national team," Davies said. "So for me not being able to get a chance is very painful."

Davies hopes he will be cleared to play with his club when he faces a fitness test June 24, and will "train even harder" to make sure he will be ready for next season.

But even without him up front, Davies thinks the Americans can be one of the surprises at the World Cup.

"I definitely think that the U.S. national team has a lot of good players and a lot of potential," he said. "We've beaten Spain in the Confederations Cup. Of course it's not the World Cup but we showed we have quality and that we can win big games. If we play to the best of our potential I think we can go very far."