Football

Freddy Adu: America's forgotten man

Published 1 Comments

Football News
24/7

Freddy Adu is still just 24.

He one once considered the finest American player of his generation despite being just a teenager, and he's now without a club.

It is a tale that most in the football world know well.

Adu made his Major League Soccer debut for DC United at 14, his United States national debut at 16, and went on to become a legend of the sorts of the back of pure potential and a desperate clamour for a genuine soccer superstar across the pond.

Well, on Football Manager anyway.

In reality, it's been a little more difficult for the Ghanaian-born starlet.

Having been denied the opportunity to join Manchester United as he was unable to gain a work permit, Adu moved to Real Salt Lake in 2006. Within a year he'd moved on and signed for Benfica.

Then an 18-year-old, he found opportunities harder to come by in Portugal, making 20 appearances for the Eagles' first team in four years, all coming in his first season.

In the subsequent years, the US international went out on loan to various clubs, in France, Portugal, Greece and Turkey. Despite various impressive showings, no club took up the option to sign him permanently, and Adu returned to the States.

He rejoined the MLS with Philadelphia Union, but two years later he'd fallen out with coach John Hackworth and departed.

The man once dubbed "the next Pele" has had a lot of big decisions to make in his young career - turning down Inter Milan at the age of ten, electing to play for the United States ahead of Ghana, and moving to Bahia in Brazil to enhance his chances of playing at this year's World Cup.

Adu last just six months with the Salvador club, and was last spotted training with English side Blackpool.

Speaking to their club channel TangerineTV in February, he acknowledged that he'd made mistakes in the past.

"I need to make the right decision for my career. I haven't always made the right decisions with choices of teams that I've gone to in the past, so I have to make the right decision this time."

He added: "I've learned a lot through that journey. There's been good times and there's been bad times, but I'm glad I experienced that at such a young age so that being 24 now I'm still young enough to correct a lot of the mistakes I made."

In a nation still waiting for its first global footballing superstar, there was a lot of pressure placed on Adu, and he admitted to believing his own hype at times.

"There was a point where honestly I did get caught up in it. Maybe I wasn't training as hard as I should have, and it hurt my development."

In this refreshingly honest interview, he also revealed some of the reasons behind his early exposure to a world of big-money advertising campaigns and ruthless media analysis.

"What most people don't know is that I decided to go pro because my family was really poor. My mum was a single mother working two or three jobs, so what am I going to do? Say no to millions of dollars at that age while my family's struggling?"

Even when Adu returned to the States with the Union, the pressure remained. The public expected. His best performances in recent years have come out of the limelight in Europe, and that is perhaps why the 24-year-old appears hesitant about the prospect of playing in the MLS once more.

As recently as three years ago, he was representing his country at the Gold Cup. He can boast 17 international caps. This is not a man who has failed to this point due to a lack of talent. Endless internet video compilations will tell you that.

Though pressure may have got to him in the past, that's not to say Adu will never again figure in America's elite division.

His Twitter page carries the Gracie Allen quote, "Never put a period where God put a comma".

If nothing else, that suggests that he isn't done yet.

At Philadelphia, Adu wasn't a designated player, and his belief earlier this year that he could still make Jurgen Klinsmann's World Cup squad offers hope that though money may have driven him in the infancy of his career, it's his love of the game that will get him back on track.

Write for GiveMeSport! Sign-up to the GMS Writing Academy here: http://gms.to/1a2u3KU

DISCLAIMER: This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE: http://gms.to/writeforgms

Topics:
Football
MLS

Article Comments

Report author of article

Please let us know if you believe this article is in violation of our editorial policy, please only report articles for one of the following reasons.

Report author

DISCLAIMER

This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

Want more content like this?

Like our GiveMeSport Facebook Page and you will get this directly to you.

Already Subscribed to Facebook, don't ask me again

Follow GiveMeSport on Twitter and you will get this directly to you.

Already Following, don't ask me again

Like our GiveMeSport Page and you will get this directly to you.

Already Subscribed to G+, don't ask me again