- Malaysia Airlines pilots sometimes left cockpit door unlocked: U.S. businessman
- PHILLIPS: The benefits of defying ‘common wisdom’
- Judge strikes down Arkansas abortion law — nation’s toughest — as unconstitutional
- Court: Tenn. must recognize 3 same-sex marriages
- Russia claims to have downed U.S. drone over Crimea region; Pentagon denies
- John Daly shoots 90 at PGA Tour event: ‘I’m falling apart’
- Police: Man arrested in West Virginia may be linked to Alexandria killings
- Smile: Equipping cops with body-mounted cameras gains steam in Calif., N.Y.
- Obama to sign bill cutting taxpayer money for party conventions
- Half of Americans worried about second Cold War: poll
Adu comes of age, plans ahead
SALT LAKE CITY — Now that he’s 18, Freddy Adu is eligible to fulfill his dream of playing in Europe.
U.S. soccer’s former prodigy is still a member of Real Salt Lake and is preparing to play for the U.S. national team in the FIFA under-20 World Cup this summer. After that, he could be saying goodbye to Major League Soccer for a shot at playing on the elite fields of Europe.
Hello? Hola? Bonjour? Anybody over in Europe still interested?
“You want to challenge yourself. That’s where everybody wants to go,” Adu said. “For me to get to the next level, that would be really going to Europe and continuing my learning curve at the next level.”
Adu turned 18 on June 2, making him eligible under the regulations governing international soccer to transfer to a club outside the United States. To get the attention of European clubs, he will have to perform well as captain of the U.S. national team at his third under-20 World Cup.
U.S. coach Thomas Rongen said no other American has played in the tournament more than twice simply because there aren’t many 14-year-olds who are ready to face the world’s top prospects as Adu did in 2003.
“It’s very remarkable,” Rongen said.
Four years ago, Adu was the future of American soccer. This summer Adu is a veteran — if that can be said of an 18-year-old — who can re-establish himself as a phenomenal talent and shake the label that has been building for three disappointing years in MLS.
Adu believes his feet are every bit as nimble as they were four years ago. He just hasn’t had many chances to show it lately.
Playing in the smallest market in the league, Adu’s profile has faded some since he was traded to Salt Lake by D.C. United in December. Through 10 games, Real Salt Lake was the only winless team in the league. Adu has just one goal, and his teammates have combined for only six.
A good showing against the world’s top youth soccer players in the U-20 World Cup in Canada may revive interest in Adu. His MLS career so far hasn’t lived up to the hype since D.C. United took him with the No. 1 draft pick when he was 14.
“I’m not going to worry about anything else right now but to focus on playing and let my agent deal with the other stuff,” he said.
In his first 96 MLS games, Adu had 12 goals and 18 assists. His relationship with D.C. United gradually deteriorated. Adu wasn’t happy with the way United was playing him, mostly on the wing instead of his preferred position in midfield. He also had some public clashes with his coach.
Real Salt Lake went after the frustrated teen, knowing his 18th birthday was coming and he would be eligible to transfer to a European team if there was an offer. Two months after the trade, the team finally worked out some messy negotiations over public funding to build a new stadium in the suburbs. Real Salt Lake got a headliner before the contentious deal was completed, though maybe not permanently.
By David A. Clarke Jr.
Blame Washington's intelligence failure, not lack of police
- CURL: We completely overhauled American health care to insure 4.2 million people?
- California gun store owner refuses to hand over customer list
- Bill Maher: God a 'psychotic mass murderer' who 'drowns babies'
- Firefighters discover church's Bible in Harlem rubble following gas explosion
- Crimea votes in favor of secession, U.S. rejects
- College group's diversity event canceled after excluding white people
- McCaul offers scenario where missing Malaysian jet lands in hostile country to be use as missile
- EXCLUSIVE: FBI blocked in corruption probe involving Sens. Reid, Lee
- Trust me: Obama promises new overtime rules will be 'easier for everyone'
- Officials in three states bank on states' rights argument to stop gay marriage spread
Chaos as Manhattan building explodes
Pope Francis meets his 'mini-me'
Celebrity deaths in 2014