A player once tipped to be America’s answer to Pele is planning a return to the sport two years after he was discarded by a club in Sweden for not being fit enough. Freddy Adu became the youngest player ever to sign a major league professional contract in any team sport when was the number one overall pick in the 2004 MLS SuperDraft, joining D.C. United.
After relative success in Washington, he joined Real Salt Lake before being snapped up by European giants Benfica after just 11 appearances in 2007. But from here, the attacking midfielder embarked on a journeyman existence that has seen him turn out for another 12 clubs on various loans and permanent deals.
In 2021, he joined Swedish outfit Osterlen FF but was released without ever making a single appearance with team manager Agim Sopi telling Swedish outlet Fotbollskanalen that: “His physical status was zero.”
Since then, Adu, 33, has been in the football wilderness but – having suffered withdrawal symptoms from the game – is once again itching to reignite his playing career at whatever level will have him.
Adu told NJ.bet recently: “I know that I must get fit and haven’t played for a while so I would have to go in and do trials, which will need me to be super fit.
“I’m at the point where I’m prepared to do that and so it will be this summer, and hopefully it goes according to plan, that there are some doors that open and I can have the opportunity to get back to playing.
“I don’t know what opportunities will come, but I must be ready for any opportunity that comes. I’m not going to say I’m too good for anyone. I just want to get back to playing the game that I love and miss. I miss the atmosphere, I miss the locker room, I miss training every day in the morning, being around the guys – I miss it all.”
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Ghana-born Adu had once been considered the great hope for the USMNT and was the youngest player ever to be capped for the USA at the age of 16, but as his club career unravelled so did his standing with the national team. In total, he was capped 17 times, scoring just twice.
He was a surprise inclusion in the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup team and played a key part in the goal that helped the United States reach the final, which he started against Mexico. Adu was involved in both of his team’s goals but it was Mexico who prevailed as 4-2 winners.
It remains to be seen whether Adu can reignite a career that threatened to take off but never did, however, the ‘new Pele’ seems happy to turn out for anyone at this stage in his journey.
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