Since breaking onto the national scene when he was 14, Freddy Adu’s soccer career has taken him to eight countries and ten teams. For a player once considered as the next Pelé, Adu’s career up to this point has to be considered a huge disappointment.
Still only 26, Adu became the youngest athlete ever to sign a professional contract after he was drafted by D.C. United in 2004. Adu scored only 11 goals in three seasons with D.C. United before being traded to Real Salt Lake after the 2006 season. He appeared in only 11 games for Real Salt Lake before joining Portuguese club Benfica on a 2 million transfer fee.
To say MLS getting 2 million for Adu from Benfica was a steal would be considered an understatement as Adu only appeared in 11 games for Benfica between 2007 and 2011. For most of those years, Adu was on loan to clubs in France, Portugal, Greece, and Turkey.
Realizing he was a soccer journeyman, Adu returned to MLS with the Philadelphia Union in August 2011 where he remained until early April 2013 when he signed with Brazilian club Bahia. Adu’s time in Bahaia lasted only seven months and he was once again looking for a new home. He spent 2014 with Serbian club Jagodina and has split 2015 between Finnish clubs KuPS and KUFU-98.
Adu posted on his Twitter account yesterday that he will be joining the Tampa Bay Rowdies of the NASL. Will this move help Adu get back on track? At 26, he should be entering the prime of his career although it is tough to gage when his prime would be since he has already played professionally for 12 years.
I have never seen an athlete’s career take such a downward spiral. Adu used to dominate with the U.S. U-17 and U-20 teams, but has not played for the senior national team since the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup.
The former prodigy is still young enough to appear in a World Cup if he can get his career on track. Jurgen Klinsmann has shown he is willing to give players opportunities if he feels they can help the team. Maybe getting consistent playing time with the Rowdies will reinvigorate Adu’s career. If not, I am not sure what else he can do other than hang up his boots and get a real job off the pitch.
And that’s as I see it!
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