When Charlie Davies was in first grade, he showed his father a flyer that he thought was for Pop Warner football. He was surprised to learn that it was actually for soccer.
Davies decided to attend the tryouts anyway, buying the necessary equipment from MVP Sports. He didn’t make the team, but soon found himself obsessed with the game. The tireless practicing ultimately translated to eleven years as a professional, which included 17 caps with the U.S. Men’s National Team.
Davies is now harnessing that same level of commitment as he looks to bring professional soccer to his home state of New Hampshire.
“We’ve taken massive leaps and bounds to make sure that we’re going to start off firing on all cylinders to create something that New Hampshire has never seen,” Davies told The Bent Musket. “It excites me. It excites the soccer community.”
Davies is a part-owner of the club, which is rumored to play in the Londonderry-area. He’s already put in countless hours to ensure that the team will be a success, though he’s quick to note that he’s surrounded by talented people.
Jeremy Zelanes serves as the point person for the project and he’s been working hard identifying investors and putting together operational plans. Although a name was not given, the person in charge of the branding and crest is someone Davies “always respected and someone who is really well-known globally in the fashion department.”
Davies recognizes that “relationships are everything” and hopes to lean on some of his friends as the team forms. This is especially true in terms of the coaching staff.
“I feel like this is going to be an opportunity to bring in someone who has had a crazy amount of experience as a professional and someone deserving of this opportunity,” Davies said. “When you think of New Hampshire, this is going to move the needle.”
And moving the needle is the ultimate goal.
Davies imagines that the new club, which is slated to begin play in USL League One in 2022, will “gain notoriety not only nationally, but globally.” He yearns for the team to be bigger than Forward Madison, who’s the current darling of the U.S. third division.
He also wants it to create something good for the state. Davies wants to help young players by exposing them to great coaches and competition. He wants to help the community by donating to local charities and guiding students through school. He wants to draw in soccer fans by giving them a winning team to support.
Davies said. “If you come from New Hampshire, you feel like you have to rock this stuff. I might not even be a soccer fan, but I love the games, I love the atmosphere, and I love what this club means and does for the community. So I’m going to be behind whatever they do.”
Davies said the club is in the “final stages,” noting that they have plans regarding a stadium, training facilities, and marketing. He says the team will have a name that “identifies with the state and the people within the state” instead simply being a FC or SC.
More details are expected during the official launch in early February. This is when we’ll likely learn the team’s name, crest, and sponsor, though these are subject to change.
The idea that people could soon be wearing the gear of a New Hampshire professional soccer team is exciting to Davies, who once had to tell his European teammates he lived near Boston because no one had heard of his home state.
Not unlike the effort he put in after failing to make the team in first grade, Davies is committed to making this project a success. He views it as part of his legacy, and believes it could end up meaning more than anything he did as a player.
“I hope, I envision that when I’m in my 50s or 60s that people don’t really remember me as a soccer player,” Davies remarked. “Whatever I do long-term is how I hope I’m remembered because that’s where I made the biggest impact.”