Manero

Adu’s Fall

By: Alfonso Duro

At 14, Ghanaian-American Freddy Adu was considered the next big talent to break onto the world soccer stage. He was compared to Pelé, an image heavily pushed by none other than Nike, which invested millions of dollars in turning a teenager into the biggest sensation in American soccer.

The experiment failed. Adu never quite lived up to the expectation, and while he was supposed to have enough experience and potential to sign with a top European club, by the time he was 18 years old, the best he had managed to do was rack up less than 20 games with Portugal’s Benfica in a four-year contract that sat quite far from what he could have been expected to be making at that point in his career.

Loan after loan, his light slowly faded out, until the summer of 2014 when he found himself a 25 year old without a professional soccer contract. At a time when he was supposed to be leading the US Men’s National Team in Brazil, Adu was actually home waiting on news from different trials with Premiership teams, including a horrible series of sessions at Blackpool. (Alexi Lalas may have put it best: he said that Adu was “kind of a luxury car; he’s just not very practical.”)

The most shocking news came out when BBC correspondent John Bennett tweeted about the former prodigy latest gig: promoting a nightclub in Washington, DC. Adu himself came out to clarify that he was not working as a club promoter, but rather “hosting” a party at a club, for which there was some promotional material done with his image.

Be it as it may, Freddy Adu’s career has surely dwindled in the last few years, and after being released by his last club, Serbian lower-tier Jagodina, the US international is now looking to sign a contract with a yet-to-be revealed Swedish side, where other USMNT stars have been shining bright as of late.

However, it will be tough for Adu to get past his present reputation. In Philadelphia, where he was brought in as a franchise player by Coach Peter Novak, he was ultimately regarded as a self-centered star, who didn’t do much for the team, and his stint at the team ended alongside Novak’s, pushing him to another round of trials in Europe that would land him on the unemployment line this past summer.

Perhaps the stint in Sweden is the push he needs to revive a career that, from the start, has felt a bit decaffeinated. Or perhaps, Adu will return from the Scandinavian country in six months with nothing but another failed experience at a club far from his MLS home base.

In that case, maybe he will have to seriously consider that nightclub business.

Alfonso Duro is a Spanish freelance writer. When he's not managing Google's agency in the United Arab Emirates (his current job), chances are he's watching and writing about soccer.