On June 11th, 32 National Soccer teams will partake a month long tournament known as the FIFA World Cup in South Africa. The big power-house teams will be there: France, USA, Brazil, Germany, England, and defending champion Italy. The beauty of this event is that these Nations stop their daily routines and sit to watch a sporting event for over 90 minutes of non-stop action.
However, much like in years past, there have been certain players from these countries that have set themselves apart. These players get talked about in local markets and on national sports radio and television shows.
So with the World Cup on the horizon, fans expect to see these superstars play again in front of the world, right? Well, not this year, as the 2010 World Cup is without the “Stars” of years past. Sure, there are still the great players from England, such as Forward Peter Crouch and Midfielder Joe Cole. Brazil still has Kaka and Robinho. And the United States still has Landon Donavan, Clint Dempsey, and Jose Altadore. But, after those names, who else is left that the general public can recognize?
If you look at the 2010 rosters, you will see the lack thereof for marquee players. Off the Brazil roster, is Ronaldhino, Ronaldo, and Ronaldo. Gone from England is arguably the most known Soccer player in America, David Beckham. Gone from Italy is one of their main players from 2006 Championship team, Francesco Totti. And on our roster, the United States, gone is Charlie Davies.
Charlie Davies story is one that is a heart breaking tale. Davies, one of the younger players in the United States Soccer camp, was an up and coming star. In the World Cup Qualifiers Davies scored goal after goal. In one match against Mexico, held in Mexico City, Davies scored the first goal of the game, giving the American Team an unthinkable 1-0 lead in a hostile environment. The Americans lost the game 2-1 but gained a lot of experience playing a great match. The stage was set for Davies to lead the Americans into South Africa, and the stage was set for Davies to be the next big star.
Then, tragedy hit. On October 13, 2009, Davies, who was in Washington, D.C. for a World Cup Qualifier game between Costa Rica and the United States, was a passenger in an SUV that went out of control on the George Washington Parkway and struck a metal railing at about 3:15 a.m., tearing the vehicle in half. The accident killed a 22-year old woman who was in the car with Davies, while Davies himself suffered a lacerated bladder, fractured right tibia and femur, a fractured elbow, and facial injuries. On December 4, Davies said that he expects to be running by March and will be fit to play at the World Cup. However, on May 11th, it was announced by Coach Bob Bradley that Davies would not be on the preliminary US national team roster.
The missing players from these teams will not slow down this month long event. There will be a new crop of players that will step up and make new memories for their followers. Fans of their countries will find new players to buy jerseys of, or root for with all of their hearts. It will just be a shame to not see the stars of the previous World Cups’ on the world stage for one more time.By T.J. McAloon