The outstanding American player of the 1980s, at both the club and national-team levels. Davis was one of the leading Americans in the foreign-dominated North American Soccer League and a star of the U.S. national team for more than a decade.
Davis joined the New York Cosmos at the start of the 1978 season, after playing one season in college, at Santa Clara, By the time the prodigy began playing for the Cosmos, he had already played several games for the U.S. national team. He played for the Cosmos from 1978 to 1984, appearing in a total of 154 NASL games as well as participating in the Cosmos’ worldwide exhibition tours.
Davis was a member of the Cosmos’ NASL champion teams in 1978, 1980 and 1982. A playmaking midfielder, he scored only 15 goals for the Cosmos, but following the retirement of Werner Roth in 1979, he clearly was the leading American player in the Cosmos’ galaxy of international stars.
Davis played his first game for the United States in September 1977, and scored his first full international goal just six minutes into that game. He went on to play 35 full internationals for the United States, which was a record at the time, and scored seven goals in those games. From 1984 onward, he was the regular captain of the national team, including leading it in the 1984 and 1988 Olympic Games. Perhaps his best game for the national team was the 3-0 victory over Costa Rica in the 1984 Olympics, in which he scored two goals in front of what was then a record American soccer crowd. He also played for the United States in the qualifying rounds of the 1982, 1986 and 1990 World Cups. After he had played in the first two 1990 qualifying games, he suffered a knee injury in January 1989 that ended his outdoor playing career
However, Davis continued playing indoors until 1990, in an unsuccessful attempt to regain fitness and make the U.S. team for the 1990 World Cup. He had begun playing in the the Major Indoor Soccer League in 1983, and in his final NASL season, he played for the Cosmos on loan from the St. Louis Steamers of the MISL. In the MISL, he played three seasons for the Steamers, one for the New York Express and three for the Tacoma Stars.
Inducted in 2001.