Charlie Davies has moved leagues, leaving France's Ligue 1 for Denmark's Superliga. Specifically, he's now a member of Randers FC, a club that hasn't been around very long. Here's what you need to know about Davies's new address.
Why Are We Here?
Every American soccer fan is familiar with the Charlie Davies story. Emerging as a member of Hammarby in Sweden before moving to Sochaux in France, Davies was a key part of the USA's qualifying campaign for the 2010 World Cup. On October 13th, Davies suffered severe injuries in a car wreck. He would spend the 2011 season with DC United before returning to Sochaux.
And Where Are We?
Randers, a metro area of just under 100,000 Danes in the Midtjylland region of the country. What does that mean for someone who would have trouble locating Denmark on a map? We're around 100 miles to the northwest of Copenhagen on the River Guden. As with most things European, the city is very very old. It's also home to the Randers Tropical Zoo, which might initially sound like a bit of a stretch for northern Denmark. Well, it's a series of three geodesic domes that are climate and daylight controlled to resemble South America, Asia, and Africa. Thanks wikipedia, where would we be without you?
And The Club?
Davies's former club DC United is older than Randers. In an attempt to produce a stronger team capable of competing against the bigger clubs in Denmark, six Randers clubs celebrated New Year's 2003 by merging to form Randers FC. It hasn't been all bright lights and biodomes since, with two relegations to Denmark's second division. They won the Danish Cup in 2006. US international Lee Nguyen played for Randers in 2008-09.
How Tough Is The Superliga?
Nordsjaelland are the defending SuperLiga champions and FC Copenhagen is the perennial power. The league is 12th in UEFA's Association Ranking. This is important because it determines the number of European slots a league receives. Belgium (13th) and Scotland (15th) are two noticeable leagues below Denmark.
Welcome to AutoC Park Randers, with three sides rebuilt in 2006. The stadium holds 12,000 with 6114 seats. By MLS standards, not that impressive. Then again, most MLS teams are built in metro areas with significantly more than 100,000 people. In terms of Danish soccer as a whole, it's the 6th largest stadium in total capacity, and 11th largest in terms of seating. It's the smallest Category Three stadium in Denmark by seating capacity. FC Copenhagen's Parken Stadium is the only Elite Category stadium in the country, with a capacity of 38,065 all seated.