American Soccer Phenom and U.S. Olympian
Born with a ball at his feet
Freddy Adu (full name: Fredua Korateng Adu) grew up in the Atlantic coastal town of Tema, Ghana. His father Maxwell and mother Emelia ran a convenience store and started Freddy on soccer shortly after he turned two. By six, Freddy was playing barefoot pickup soccer with local boys, many of whom were significantly older than him. When he was eight, his parents won an immigration lottery and moved with Freddy and younger brother Fro (Fredua Akoto Adu) to Potomac, Maryland, a suburb outside of Washington, D.C.
Before Adu had even turned eleven, he was gaining worldwide attention for his soccer skill. His first shining moment came at the age of 10 when he earned the MVP award in a tournament United States ODP U-14 squad. Instead of going to Europe, Adu joined IMG Soccer Academy, the U.S. Soccer Federation's full-time residency program for the U-17 program based in Bradenton, Florida. In addition to playing soccer under an experienced coaching staff, Adu took courses at an accelerated pace, which allowed him to graduate in 2003, at the age of 14. Among his U-23 teammates who graduated from the Academy are Jozy Altidore, Eddie Gaven and Jonathan Spector.
Youngest pro ever
Being the highest-acclaimed youth soccer player in U.S. history allowed Adu some leeway as he decided to make his move into the professional ranks. He wanted to stay close to home, so Major League Soccer forced a deal whereby the Dallas Burn traded the #1 overall pick in the 2004 MLS SuperDraft to D.C. United. D.C. then chose Adu and signed him to a contract. By penning his signature, Adu became the youngest American athlete (14 years, seven months) since 1887 to sign a major league pro contract. He scored five league goals in his rookie season and showed flashes of brilliance even though he often came on as a substitute. Adu and D.C. captured the MLS Cup that season.
Don't believe the hype!
Adu's second and third seasons with D.C. United were not as rosy. He was criticized by the media and his own coaches for his inconsistent defensive play and poor teamwork. He earned a one-game suspension for openly criticizing his lack of playing time. Despite scoring seven goals and assisting on fourteen more, he did not live up to the high expectations.
Traded to Real (Salt Lake)
Rumors of moves to European clubs, consistent throughout Adu's youth and first season with D.C. United, became fewer and farther between. In December 2006, Adu was traded from D.C. to Real Salt Lake, the MLS equivalent of a trade from the New York Yankees to the Tampa Rays. It appeared that Adu was destined to fade into obscurity. Blame shifted from the U.S. soccer establishment to Freddy himself.
Breath of fresh foreign air
Adu played sparingly with RSL, but was selected to play on the U.S. U-20 national team at the 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Canada. Finally, he showed the world (European club scouts) what it was waiting for, scoring three goals in the tournament (all in a 6-1 victory over Poland) and teaming up magnificently with Altidore. He assisted on both goals in a 2-1 upset of Brazil. Among the clubs that expressed interest in acquiring Adu's services was Portuguese outfit SL Benfica. A deal was struck, and Adu was off on a European adventure. After scoring five goals in 21 matches with Benfica, he was loaned out to French Ligue 1 squad Monaco for the 2008-09 season.
Adu did not take part in any of the early U.S. U-23 training camps, or its December 2007 trip to Chima, joining only a few days before the CONCACAF Olympic qualifying tournament in March. However, Adu again showed that he was in top form. He scored the Americans' lone goal in a 1-1 draw against Cuba on a bending free kick, then fired home a penalty kick in their 1-0 defeat of Panama. In the deciding match against Canada, Adu scored the first two goals on free kicks that froze the goalkeeper in his spot on both occasions. The U.S. won the match, 3-0, and earned a berth in Beijing. For his effort in the tournament, he was named to the Best XI team.
Freddy Adu: Still has time to shine
Freddy Adu is still only 23-years-old (©GettyImages). As featured on NewsNow: Football news Football News 24/7. Freddy Adu has contantly been criticised in his short career so far. Bursting onto the scene in 2004 as a 14-year-old, Adu became the ...
Major League Soccer
American Exports: Freddy Adu could make Bahia debut on Sunday in Brazil
Major League Soccer
GUADALAJARA, Mexico – Registration has been complete, work visas sorted out and former Philadelphia Union forward Freddy Adu could feature for the first time this weekend in Brazil. His new team, Bahia, has six players out through injury and the ...
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