Freddy Adu, Where Is He Now?

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    Updated: February 18, 2014
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    It has been ten years since Freddy Adu burst onto the scene as a fourteen-year-old. The great hope for US Soccer, once dubbed ‘the next Pele’ signed  a reported $1 million endorsement deal with Nike at just thirteen-years-old. 

    Adu was so highly regarded as a youngster that he was invited for a trial at Manchester United under the management of Sir Alex Ferguson when he was just seventeen.

    Freddy Adu was selected by DC United as the number one pick in the 2004 MLS Super Draft, becoming the youngest American to sign a major league professional contract in any team sport at that stage.

    Adu would go on to break other records as his professional career progressed, becoming the youngest ever scorer in MLS history as well as the youngest ever player to represent the US Men’s National Team, at 16 years 234 days.

    He has since collected a further seventeen caps for the US senior side, the last of these coming in the CONCACAF Gold Cup Final back in 2011. 

    Adu looked set on the path to superstardom but following his big move from the MLS to Portuguese giants Benfica shortly after his eighteenth birthday, the youngster struggled for game time and his development suffered as a result.


    He was loaned to French side Monaco and then to clubs in Greece and Turkey before he finally made the move back to the States and the MLS, joining the Philadelphia Union in 2011. 

    Adu had two seasons in Philadelphia before he was traded to Bahia of Brazil for what was a short and unsuccessful spell, ending with the youngster being released in November. 

    Adu has so far failed to reach the heights that were expected of him when he burst onto the scene as a teenager and has since seen his professional career stall to such an extent that he is currently without a club and has been invited to train with struggling English Championship side Blackpool in an effort to earn a contract and forge a successful career for himself in the game. 

    Adu said in an interview with Tangerines TV, “I haven’t always made the right decisions as far as choices of teams I’ve gone to in the past. That’s why when I heard of this opportunity I wanted to come here to check it out, see if it fits, see how it is.”

    He added: “I’m only 24 now and it’s actually 10 years in March when I made my debut (for DC United). 

    “I’ve learned a lot through that journey, there’s been good times and there’s been bad times. I’m glad that I experienced that at such a young age that, being 24 now, I’m still young enough to correct a lot of the mistakes I made.” 

    An accusation that has been leveled at a lot of youngsters, dubbed by the media as superstars before they have ever achieved anything, is that the fame, the money can go to their heads. Few were subjected to the sort of attention and pressure that was placed upon young Adu’s shoulders though.

    “It was a lot of pressure, it really was. As a 14, 15, 16-year-old you’re young, you’re immature, you kind of get caught up in that a little bit. Thankfully I had my family and my friends and I had the right people around me to steer me in the right direction because there was a point where I did get caught up in it. 

    “Maybe I wasn’t training as hard as I should have. It hurt me, it hurt my development. 

    “What most people don’t know is that I decided to go professional because my family was real poor. At that point my mum, she was a single mother working two jobs, three jobs and what am I going to do? Say no to millions of dollars at that age while my family struggle? No.” 

    Blackpool, on the North West coast of England, and known as much for its illuminations and donkey rides on the beach as its football team may not seem the most likely of destinations for the young American.

    Adu explained, “It was just an opportunity that came by. The staff here had a mutual friend with my agent. To get a chance to come here and train in England is something that I won’t pass up. 

    “I’ve loved it. The guys have been great, the coaches have been great, they’ve all welcomed me. 

    “I’m happy here. I’m learning a lot, the training here is very intense. It’s different to what I’m used to and I absolutely love it because that’s what I need as a player. 

    “It’ll be a dream come true to play here some day. I don’t know when that’ll happen but I’ll do whatever it take to make that happen.” 

    Freddy Adu now has the chance to earn a contract at Blackpool and finally fulfill the potential that saw him break record after record as a teenager. 

    If he does he could be in with a chance of forcing himself into the thoughts of US Men’s National Team manager Jürgen Klinsmann as he selects his squad for the World Cup Finals in Brazil this summer. 

    If he doesn’t, he has every chance of disappearing into the abyss that has claimed other Football Manager ‘legends’ that have gone before him, joining a list including such infamously luminary names as Cherno Samba, Sharbel Touma and Tonton Zola Moukoko.


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