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Kofi Davies, like many a dad before him, has caught on to his son’s habits. As he explained, “If Charlie has a good game, the phone is ringing not long after the game is over. ‘How did I do? What did you think?’ If he has a so-so game, the phone doesn’t ring until the next day.”

Considering how he has played since his dramatic debut, the younger Davies probably hasn’t been putting off many of those calls home. As his pace, physicality and rhythm on the ball have returned, so have the goals — six so far. United, at 3-4-3, are back on the path to respectability.

Along the way, Davies‘ entertaining antics, including triumphant dances such as the “Stanky Leg” and the “Bernie,” have pumped some much-needed energy into the franchise. He also provides a colorful presence at practice sessions, showing his competitive side one moment and a jovial tone the next, all while seeming like an older brother of sorts to United’s youthful core.

“He’s got a great rapport with everyone in the locker room,” McCarty said. “And he just has a nose for goal. He’s a predator around the box, and he’s certainly got those instincts you want in your forwards.”

Added veteran striker Josh Wolff: “He became a bit of a cult icon with how it transpired and now that he’s on the road to recovery.”

With June’s Gold Cup around the corner, Davies had hoped to get a call from the U.S. team about playing in the biennial North American championship. In a telling sign he was under consideration for the roster, Bradley attended United’s 1-1 tie against the Colorado Rapids on May 14.

But Davies‘ performance that night was cut short after 34 minutes because of a hamstring strain. A fringe player even before that setback, he was left off the Gold Cup squad announced Monday. Though he is in the picture as the U.S. continues the slow, steady build to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, Davies knows he’s still a “work in progress.”

“We all love Charlie and know that he’s determined,” Donovan said. “It’s only a matter of time until he’s back with the U.S. team.”

Amid the widespread support, Davies does have critics who direct attention to his breaking curfew the night of the accident. Or his being arrested in October for driving 125 mph in France, only to admit he was actually the passenger and had taken the fall for a Sochaux teammate who thought his license was suspended.

Looking back on the past 19 months, Davies readily acknowledges the poor decisions he made. As he points out, it’s now his responsibility, as an old soul in a young body, to help others learn from how he dealt with those errors.

“I have no problem at all talking about my accident or the things I went through,” Davies said. “Everyone makes mistakes, everyone goes through tough times in their lives, and this is a perfect example of how you can still push through it and you can still achieve things that you want to achieve, even if you’ve had such an awful thing happen to you.”