Freddy Adu Wears Red, White And Blue

Posted May 25th, 2011 at 4:52 pm (UTC-4)

Freddy Adu and Sonny

This photo of me shaking hands with Freddy Adu was taken in 2004 when the Ghana-born soccer prodigy was only 14-years-old.  Freddy had just signed a contract with the Washington-based D.C. United club, making him the youngest player in Major League Soccer history.

RFK Stadium in Washington

During our interview at RFK Stadium here in Washington, the young teenager impressed me with his poise and maturity in front of a phalanx of cameras and microphones from various U.S. and international media outlets.  But Freddy Adu still had a lot of growing up to do, both on and off the pitch.

After beginning his professional career in MLS, Adu moved to Europe in 2007, when he was signed by Benfica.  The Portuguese side has since loaned him to clubs based in Monaco, Greece and Turkey, where Adu currently plays regularly for a second-division team (Rizespor).

During some of his European stops, Adu played only sporadically, sometimes coming on as a substitute.  His recent performances in Turkey impressed U.S. national team Coach Bob Bradley, who named Freddy to his 23-man roster for a June 4 friendly against World Cup champion Spain and the  CONCACAF Gold Cup, a championship tournament for teams in North and Central America and the Caribbean.  “We respect the fact that he made this move to go to a smaller club (in Turkey),” says Bradley, “because he had to show people he had to do whatever to keep going.  We’re looking forward to seeing how he’s handling things, a maturity, a way that tells us that his experiences along the way have been measured and now he understands all of it needs to come together to move along.”

This is the first time Freddy Adu will be wearing the red, white and blue of the U.S. national soccer team in two years.  Freddy was hoping to wear the American colors at last year’s World Cup in South Africa, but Coach Bradley felt he had not matured enough at the international level, and did not include him on his team.  Like Coach Bradley, I’m also looking forward to seeing how Adu handles things when facing top international competition.  If he can successfully show his growth and maturity as a footballer, Adu might get the chance to wear the red, white and blue at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Sonny Young
Since 1999, host Sonny Young has delighted listeners and viewers with a lively presentation that combines humor, props, sound effects and correspondent reports from Africa and all over the globe.

5 responses to “Freddy Adu Wears Red, White And Blue”

  1. Jean B Manirakiza says:

    That’s a great piece of news that Freddy is back. What derailed Freddy’s development was the many years he wasted in the MLS. His natural soccer style belongs to some other leagues and by playing here in the US and trying to adapt to the system; he shot himself in the foot. Off course there was the big endorsements and trying to make a 15 yr old the face of American soccer when he wasn’t prepared for that.
    But, I am glad he didn’t quit.

  2. Sonny Young says:

    Thanks for checking in, Jean. I agree with you – I think Freddy wasn’t prepared for all the pressure when he signed his first professional contract. I remember some pundits were billing him as the next Pele, extraordinary hype for any 14-year-old soccer player.

  3. Jean B Manirakiza says:

    You’re welcome Sonny! I hope Freddy brings can fit in the US squad and be a playmaker so someone who can hold the ball once in a while and create space for other players. This fact seems to elude the US team i.e they play at high pace but lose lots of possession. So Freddy’s skills should be a welcome asset,that’s if the team wants to adapt to international possession-based soccer. What’s your take on Barca v Man U. I go for Barca!

  4. Sonny Young says:

    Hi Jean. Sporty greetings once again from VOA headquarters in Washington, D.C. I’m also going for Barca on Saturday @ Wembley.

  5. Sonny,i like that picture of you and Freddy.And i think Freddy is a young promising footballer,who has a lot to give.

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Sonny Side of Sports is an energetic and action-packed look at both world and African sports, broadcast on radio, TV and the Internet. Since the show’s creation in 1999, host Sonny Young has delighted listeners and viewers with a lively presentation that combines humor, props, sound effects and correspondent reports from Africa and all over the globe.

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