CHICAGO (AP) - Freddy Adu is getting another chance.
The former phenom was selected to the U.S. roster for next month’s Gold Cup on Monday, the first time in almost two years he’s been included in coach Bob Bradley’s plans. Adu has been playing at Rizespor in Turkey’s second division since January.
“Freddy is a player that, in the past, has shown us soccer qualities that we think help our team,” Bradley said. “It hasn’t always added up enough yet with the full national team, but it seems like a good opportunity to get him back in with us when we have a good month together, and challenge him and hope that he has continued to grow and mature.”
The Americans will begin reporting Thursday to training camp in Cary, N.C. They have a June 4 exhibition in Foxborough, Mass., against World Cup champion Spain, followed by the CONCACAF Gold Cup, the championship of North and Central America and the Caribbean.
Adu, who turns 22 on June 2, burst onto the U.S. soccer scene at the 2003 FIFA Under-17 World Championships. He scored three goals against South Korea and a game-winner against Sierra Leone in the tournament, where Arsenal star Cesc Fabregas was the MVP.
The teenager created an even bigger splash that November when he signed with D.C. United _ a deal that landed him on David Letterman’s “Late Show.” His MLS debut in April 2004 was given showcase treatment on ABC, and he played the final 29 minutes, becoming the youngest player on a major U.S. pro team in more than 115 years.
He earned his first invitation to a national team training camp in January 2006. Later that month, the 16-year-old became the youngest player in U.S. national team history when he came on as a substitute against Canada.
“At different times, he has shown some soccer abilities that are special,” Bradley said. “He hasn’t always been able to make them count in different situations, at different levels.”
In fact, Adu fell so far, so fast that he’s become a cautionary tale for youngsters with exceptional talents.
Weeks after Adu scored three goals against Poland at the 2007 Under-20 World Cup, Benfica paid $2 million for his transfer from MLS. But the coach who signed him was fired after two games, and Adu made only two starts that season. He was loaned the following July to Monaco, where he played 110 minutes _ all season.
Adu scored his first goal for the U.S. team on Nov. 19, 2008, in a 2-0 win over Guatemala in a World Cup qualifier, and added his second the following July against Grenada in the CONCACAF Gold Cup. It was his last appearance with the U.S. team, and he was left out of last year’s World Cup.
He bounced between clubs in Portugal and Greece, and had a handful of tryouts with other European teams before being loaned to Rizespor in late January.
Though Bradley has been keeping tabs on Adu _ he watched Rizespor’s playoff game Monday on the computer _ he acknowledged Adu’s selection was probably the biggest surprise on the 23-man roster. Because of the importance of the Gold Cup, Bradley stuck with most of the veterans that were part of last year’s World Cup team while adding up-and-comers Juan Agudelo, Tim Ream and Eric Lichaj.View Entire Story
By Douglas Holtz-Eakin
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