- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 19, 2005

D.C. United’s Freddy Adu received criticism and advice from the club’s longest-serving players yesterday following his recent outburst and complaints about lack of playing time.

Following practice on Tuesday, Adu said he was irked at not starting in United’s final of game of the season, coming on the heels of being named Major League Soccer player of the week. The 16-year-old forward said his lack of playing time may have ruined his chance of making the U.S. World Cup team and hinted he might leave United.

And all this came as United prepared for its playoff game at the Chicago Fire tomorrow.

Jaime Moreno, United’s longest-serving player, suggested other people were influencing Adu, who is the league’s most visible player.

“I believe other people are involved in this, because a young, 16-year-old, can’t really say, or act like this,” Moreno said. “I know some people are behind this. It’s so unprofessional, and it’s a lack of respect to a team which has so much history.”

Moreno noted that when he was 16, he was having the best time of his life as a youth player, earning $25 a month and trying to save for his first pair of Reeboks.

“Experience like that, you can’t buy with $500,000 or $1 million,” added Moreno, who in 10 years with United has won four championships.

Adu joined United last season at 14 years old, earning the highest salary in the league at $500,000. He also signed a $1 million contract with Nike.

“Look, Freddy is a young kid and he’s an emotional kid,” veteran midfielder Ben Olsen said. “When I was 16 I spouted off, maybe not to the media, but to my mom and to my teachers. He’s a young kid. It’s a roller coaster for him. He’s playing, he’s not playing. I spoke to him and he knows it’s the wrong time to say anything. This is about the team right now. Deal with that stuff in the offseason. Deal with personal issues at another time, not right before the playoffs.”

Adu did not talk to the media yesterday but United coach Peter Nowak still sounded frustrated over the distraction Adu’s comments had caused.

“Nobody wins anything with their mouth, they win with their head and their hard work,” Nowak said. “We know how important it is just before the playoffs, and his comments were in an inappropriate form and at an inappropriate time.”

Adu played in 25 games this season, starting in 16. He scored four goals.

Note — Three members of United were named as finalists for the 2005 MLS year-end awards: Nowak as Coach of the Year, Moreno as MVP and Brian Carroll for the Fair Play award.


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