- The Washington Times - Saturday, May 22, 2004

As if a major soccer contract weren’t enough, Freddy Adu now has something else to make fellow 14-year-olds envious: a high school diploma.

The D.C. United forward graduated yesterday morning from Edison Academy in Bradenton, Fla., donning a cap and gown for the ceremony at St. Peter and Paul Church.

“Not many people my age get to graduate from high school,” Adu said in an interview here this week before leaving his United teammates for the trip to Florida. “I’m very excited.”

Adu completed his studies in March through an accelerated program associated with the Bradenton’s IMG Academy, where he lived for two years while training with U.S. national youth teams.

Adu signed a six-year contract with Major League Soccer last fall and made his debut with United last month, becoming the youngest player in a major American sports league in more than 100 years. He has played in all eight of United’s games and scored two goals, including a dynamic 16-yard shot off his left foot after a curling run in the second half of Wednesday night’s loss to Los Angeles.

Adu will be paid $500,000 this season, the highest salary in MLS, and he has a $1million endorsement deal with Nike. Adu has appeared on CBS’ “60 Minutes” and has been featured in Sports Illustrated and Vanity Fair. He has appeared on the “Late Show With David Letterman,” MTV’s “Total Request Live” and in a soda commercial with soccer great Pele.

Adu and his family traveled to Florida on Thursday for the graduation ceremony, taking him away from practice as United prepared for today’s game at Colorado. Adu will rejoin the team in time for the game.

Adu will reach another milestone in a couple of weeks. He’ll turn 15 on June2.

Other D.C. United players will have graduations of their own. Midfielder Joshua Gros will attend his Rutgers University graduation, scheduled June20. Midfielder Kevin Ara is scheduled to graduate from Harvard on June10.

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