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Hackworth: Union looking to move Freddy Adu

Photo: Earl Gardner

Questions about Freddy Adu’s status with the Philadelphia Union only deepened following comments after Thursday’s SuperDraft from head coach John Hackworth that the mercurial player would not be joining the club in preseason. Hackworth said simply, “He is not in our plans.”

In a wide ranging letter to Union season ticket holders on Sunday night, Hackworth touched on a number of questions in a letter to season ticket holders on Sunday evening, but primary among them was the status of Freddy Adu.

Describing the Adu situation as “the elephant in the room,” Hackworth said, “At the moment, Freddy has not been sold nor loaned and he continues to be our player, but in reality, while we are paying his salary and while we have his rights – he is not a part of our plans going forward.”

The Union manager continued, “The next step for him is one that we have been trying to work on since October, which is to see if there is a viable option to sell or loan him that makes sense for our organization and for Freddy.”

Hackworth said that, as was the case with Carlos Valdes, the club had been in discussion with Adu about the 2013 season since the end of last season. But where the issue with Valdes was one of working to find a way to best accommodate the defender’s desire to improve his prospects with the Colombian national team heading into the 2014 World Cup, with Adu the issue seems to have been one of bringing the impact of his wages on the team’s salary cap more in line with the impact he has had on the field. “Basically, to make a very long story short, we presented Freddy with an option to come back and play for the Philadelphia Union,” Hackworth explained. “However, Freddy chose to stick with his current contract, which was not an option we were willing to accept.”

In other words, the Union wanted Adu to take a wage cut. Adu refused and now the team are looking to get him out of the locker room.


Hackworth also addressed the Carlos Valdes loan, or, more specifically, the view of some Union fans that the club has not been as forthright as it could have been leading up to his loan announcement.

“I am well aware of all the rumors and speculation surrounding both players,” Hackworth said, “and I think supporters really need to know that there is much planning and strategic movement that goes into how you want to build a team for the next season.  I understand that fans want information and feel the need to get in on all the rumors, but sometimes it’s just not possible to divulge some of those things because it is a business and there is a process you have to go through. If you give secrets away, you tip your hand to your competitor and you may change the face of a deal you are trying to get done.”

Hackworth acknowledged that the Valdes loan “was not the top target for us” and said, “until the very end I honestly don’t think it was Carlos’ main target.”

Recent additions

Hackworth also addressed last week’s SuperDraft and the signing announcement of Damani Richards and Aaron Wheeler.

Reacting to concerns that the team has failed to address defensive needs, Hackworth described Richards as “a true left back and we feel as though he had more potential to be developed than any left back we saw in the draft.” Hackworth also said that though Don Anding was described as a forward in the SuperDraft, “we did not pick Don Anding as one.”

Hackworth said Anding and fellow draftee Stephen Okai are “two guys come in and fit well with how we want to build this club…two players that can push the guys on our current roster and compete for their roster spots immediately.”

Hackworth stressed that all of the recent additions are aimed at strengthening a young core that will have gained from the experience of a hard 2012 season. “We believe we have a really strong group of players (and a young core) that through the experience, maturity and development they endured last year, start at an advanced place this year.”  He continued, “It’s also addition by subtraction with the players who you don’t bring back. After just a few days of being with the players, we as a coaching staff feel really good about the group in all ways: soccer, character, personality, motivation and work ethic.”

Turning to what Union fans can expect in terms of style of play, Hackworth said, “When we look at our system of play, we want a mobile attack. We want to have the same type of mobility in our tactics. We feel very strongly that we can play a 4-3-3 in certain situations this year with a combination of Sebastien Le Toux, Conor Casey and Jack McInerney. Danny Cruz, Chandler Hoffman, Antoine Hoppenot will certainly feature in there as well.”

John Hackworth has scheduled a press conference for Monday at 1:30pm. We’ll have more news after that.




  1. I like.
    4-3-3 with those three up top will be interesting to see. May not work great, but it’s worth trying.

  2. We need someone from PSP to really start pressing Hack. Freddy, the draft and lack of signings isn’t nearly enough to compete this season. Besides the obvious cap restrictions, why isn’t money being spent? I’m not talking about Old DP money but bringing in players to fill needs that have been covered time and time again. It’s literally amateur hour at the U.

    • Wat.
      Le Toux and Casey filled forward needs.
      Parke filled the CB depth needs – and now that Valdes is gone he slots in a starter, with the rep of being one of the best CBs in the MLS in recent years.
      In fact, if we do go 4-3-3, I can see Marfan playing that CAM role and thus I don’t see any major needs.
      If we will be any good still remains to be seen, but they have addressed their needs.

    • I would agree. It really seems that they blew the preseason.

    • MikeRSoccer says:

      I think you over estimated this teams needs in the off season. We have an absurdly large attacking corps that has height, speed, athleticism and talent. This is the first year that I can comfortably say I have confidence in our strikers.

      Defensively, we have 3 starting caliber CBs, if you assume Soumare will be healthy, and two starting caliber RBs. We also signed a LB, albeit an unproven one, but we signed one.

      In the midfield the Union have an absurdly talented pool of CDMs/CMs and with Cruz, Marfan, and Garfan we have a solid pool of wingers.

      At CAM we have Marfan, though I personally feel he’s better suited to RM or Rw, and Torres. I think that the Union should give Torres the keys to the CAM position and if he fails then sign a DP CAM in the summer.

      Honestly, I think I would be OK with the Union making no more signings this off season.

      Keep in mind that the Union have made at least 3-4 signings that will be starters. That’s a pretty decent haul.

      • really? no more signings? You think Cruz is the answer? You think Hackworth will suddenly know how to use Keon? You think he will trust Roger Torres on the field? You think Garfan can’t have better uses than at Lest Back?

      • Depth is still a major issue, and I’m not sure we have the wide midfielders we need. It would be great to be able to use Garfan, but he may be pressed into service yet again in the back. I see Marfan as a more central player, and I’ve never cared for Daniel. Cruz hasn’t really shown enough to be counted on. In a 4-3-3, I’d use want to Okugo flanked by Farfans, but at that point we’re probably without a LB and with zero depth at CB. In a 4-2-3-1, you might be looking at Le Toux out wide, which is also problematic.

      • David Moscow says:

        Who is playing (backing up) LM/LW?

  3. Couple of thoughts.

    1. Unless Adu is going to Turkey, We are gonna either gonna have him sit on the bench all year or we are going to eat a huge portion of his salary. This brings me to one of my huge pet peeves… Our allocation money. I am assuming the money we use to eat Adu’s salary will come from there. Lastyear whenever we complained about the team the front office would point to this mysterious pile of allocation money and go “Don’t worry, we have allocation money we are gonna do something awesome! It could be a DP, enchanted pegasus! or maybe a pizza party!” And so far after all of that big deal about the allocation money for it we got.
    1.) a replacement for Danny Califf who was then injured who then became a replacement for Carlos Valdes. (and we don’t know if he can play yet.)
    2.) To reacquire a striker we got the allocation money for in the first place. (and one who might be made redundant by the Hoppenot/JacMAC tandem)
    3.) To make an overhyped, underperforming player Just. Go. Away.
    4.) Spare parts and projects

    So after all of that where exactly are we? And no it isn’t all Nowak’s fault.

    There is no question we improved forward but now we got 3 forwards who need to be on the field more than off just to justify the salary alone. so yea 3 starting forwards? OK. Mobile Attack, sure but Connor Casey is gonna be like a statue out there with everyone running around him.

    Parke is a wash (hopefully) with Valdes. I am pretty confident Baky will be good to go. (me being not a doctor and no knowledge of the situation)

    As far as the spare parts go. Last year we acquired players like Gomez or Lopes you knew where they were supposed to play and what they supposed to upgrade and when there was a downgrade (of sorts) in MacMath for Mondragon for we knew there was going to be potential for a huge upside when he hits his stride. But this latest round of acquisitions has the feel of your drunk uncle buying a ton of scratch offs in hopes one pays off you have no idea who they are and what are they supposed to do. They say they play this but they are really gonna be this ect ect. I dunno.

    Are they really content with who they have? Is Garfan their starting left back. They are happy with Danny Cruz? Really? I dunno.

    When I look at this collection of players I don’t see a team yet. Preseason will probably help with that but right now it kinda looks like a mess.

    I mean the transfer window doesn’t start til tomorrow and this could all be pointless by Wednesday.
    So with my luck it probably will.

  4. I was crunching some numbers..

    If my calculations are right we were at $2.36M BASE Salary last season (with the cap being $2.81M) without GA or Homegrown players who don’t count against the cap and Adu being a DP only counting $200K against. This is as of the August 1 Salary Information I gathered.

    After calculating the players we lost we dropped the cap by a million dollars, but then I had to calculate in the players we acquired. This is assuming they all made their salary from last season (which I know Casey definitely won’t be making DP money). I also assumed that McInerney, MacMath, and Okugo will all graduate from GA status this season and will make their base salary from GA (but in most cases GA graduates make more the year after graduating because you negotiate a new contract I believe). Also took into calculations that Wheeler and Damani will make 44K a piece as would Anding and Okai should they sign. And Adu will count $350K against the cap instead of $200K because of the DP Age Rule or whatever.

    With all that said we’re looking at $2.66M against the cap this season.

    This is all with massive assumptions on my part but it sounds about right in my opinion. Should we make another signing we still have around $150K to work with. And the cap will probably rise from what it was last year as it does (but with the rise of the cap there is also a rise in minimum salary I believe).

    Just food for thought. If we dropped Adu off the roster we’d have nearly half a mil to work with on the cap and wouldn’t have to pay the rest out of pocket.

    Again this is just my calculations. I could be a million dollars off right now lol

  5. Just some thoughts:
    First off I want to start by saying that I am not the biggest fan of Hackworth to begin with. I think he was the easy way to go for the Front Office, and they just said hey why not. I know the team last year was not his team, by his tactics were underwhelming to say the least. Saying all that the one thing I will give credit for is his, and the Union’s ability to be able to find talent among young players. Most of our draft signings have worked out pretty well for us so far. I am going to give Hack and the FO benefit of the doubt on these picks and signings so far.
    I think after the draft and the signing that never came from a couple of weeks ago people started to get a little discouraged about what was going on with the U. But if you look at the pieces that were added, veteran guys, who are good locker room guys. There is potential for this season. We should have two veteran center backs as long as Soumare stays healthy, two RB who know what they are doing. There are still questions at LB, but even drafting a rookie would have left us with questions there. The midfield is full of players who have been there. With Carroll as a strong veteran presence as well as the potential of Marfan, Okugo, and Torres. Daniel can be a great off the bench player, or even a winger in Hack’s preferred 4-3-3. We brought in some height in the forward position as well as proven MLS goal scorers, to come alongside JacMac. We have speed and energy off the bench. And there is still the potential of another off season signing despite preseason already beginning. The biggest thing left is to get rid or Adu and find someone else to spend that money on. With all of that said, I am cautiously optimistic of where this team can go. There is a lot of potential if Hack can put the pieces in the right places. I am not sold 100% on everything they have done, but lets see what Hack can do in his first full season.

  6. Ok so maybe I’m reading to much into this, but does anyone else think this may be Hacks Hail Mary, that they have been trying to get rid so him since October and no bites, so he puts this out like ” please we are desperate, someone take him” ?

    • I don’t think so. The more savvy GMs would have known our desperation since October.

    • Steve, I honestly think that Hack, mindful of the omnious veil of secrecy that defined the Nowak era, is just trying to be straight-up with the fans. Plus, if Freddy isn’t coming to the Union’s preseason, he’d have no choice to address it ASAP anyway.

      There are a lot of aspects to the managerial role. One could criticize Hack for not making the right signings (personally I am very pleased with the Union’s moves this off-season) or not being a terrific tactician, and still recognize that he is very good at fan relations. Which, as fans, we should all greatly appreciate.

      • Scott, I’m not being critical I was just thinking out loud, in fact the only thing I’ve been wondering about/ maybe a misstep is the mysterious signing a few weeks ago that never seemed to materialize. And I’m not even angry about that just curious.

      • The Black Hand says:

        I would like our club manager to focus more on putting a quality XI on the pitch and less on fan relations.

  7. So according to Hackworth, Adu was unwilling to take a pay cut in order to stay with the Union.

    IIRC, this is very similar to what happened at Aris, where he chose to sit out a year, rather than take a pay cut.

    The best thing that will ever happen to Freddy Adu is when teams stop giving him bloated contracts that he doesn’t deserve.

    Good riddance.

  8. I am very happy with the Le Toux, Casey, and Parke signings. Assuming Soumare is healthy, we should have 2 really good CBs AND Okugo to back them up. At RB we are stocked, and we are now stocked at forward — and if we don’t stick with the 4-3-3, almost too stocked. At CDM we are also stocked, with Okugo, Carroll, and Lahoud (who is not starter caliber, but is a more-than-serviceable backup).

    I think the team still has issues at left back and attacking midfield, and they are interrealted in the person of Gabe Farfan. Assuming there isn’t another LB signing, options there are 1) one of the new guys (Richards, Anding); 2) converting Ray Gaddis to LB; 3) playing Gabe Farfan back there. We have no idea how well #1 will work out, and most of us don’t prefer option 3 because we’d like to see Gabe in the midfield with his brother. I would honestly like to see them go with #2, since I think Gaddis is just too good to sit on the bench, though I admit that I do not know how hard it is to make that conversion.

    At attacking mid, we know Michael Farfan is there. It sounds like Hack wants a 4-3-3, in which case Gabe slots in at the other wing, which could potentially work out very well — though that depends on what’s going on at LB (as mentioned). If we’re playing with 3 forwards, then all 3 middies are going to have to be involved in the service (as opposed to pushing forward). I am not convinced that Danny Cruz, or Keon Daniel (after his extremely lackluster play last year) are the answer here. So if we don’t have Gabe in the midfield, we have a hole.

    In addition, I strongly believe that a 4-3-3 will simply not work with Brian Carroll as the mid. He is a great CDM for a 4-man diamond midfield, but in a 4-3-3 he will choke the advance with absent service. Lahoud would be no better. We have to have Okugo in this role for the formation to work.

  9. I am still mystified about the public iteration and reiteration of the lack of interest that the club has in Freddy. I am sure that they are frustrated by his demand to be paid his contractual salary, despite the disciplinary and other limits that he has demonstrated. How does it help move him, either by trade or by loan, to devalue him as a commodity? While everybody that knows anything about the history of Freddy here will be aware of the long odds against Freddy playing with a Hackworth managed team, stating that he won’t figure into the club’s future, and writing it to us season ticket holders paints the team into a corner that leaves very few options when any type of offer comes on picking him up. Why not bring him to camp, continue to field offers or expressions of interest, if there are any, and cut your best deal? Stating that you don’t want him isn’t likely to get any type of increased value back; why would I give you anything of value for an asset that you have publicly disparaged?

    • I doubt Freddy’s issues were or are a secret to anyone, anywhere. The guy really seemed like he was willing to put in the time to work his way back into the good graces of the MNT picture in the Turkish second division, but perhaps that wasn’t the case. He lacks either the talent or the head to use it. I obviously haven’t followed Adu closely, so forgive me if this is completely off-base, but it seems like a classic pitfall of being supremely talented at a young age — he hasn’t had to work to improve, and so he doesn’t know how. He probably thinks he belongs in Spain, and the gritty MLS style is suffocating him, blah, blah, blah.

      • The Black Hand says:

        Yes, Freddy underachieved during his time with the club. I think that is obvious. What is not, is the fact that a lot of Adu’s trouble was the lack of talent around him, on and off the pitch. The fact is: Freddy Adu is a very talented footballer. Probably the best player on our club, in my humble opinion. A lot of his game is subtle and often unnoticed. He is a very good passer and his presence on the pitch opened a lot up for us. Unfortunately, we did not have the personnel to take advantage. His price tag is what makes him unfit for the Union. Not that he is not worth the money. I feel that he is, actually, and some club will reap the benefits of such a player. (I only hope that it is not a MLS club.) We simply did not have the talent on the pitch or a manager capable of getting the most out of Freddy, rendering Adu a “waste” of money. I thought there was a solid chance of Adu (at CAM) developing chemistry with Casey and LeToux, up top. Unfortunately, that will not be the case. I have VERY little faith in Hackworth as club manager!

      • I’m not going to denigrate his talent, if you mean skill on the ball and precision of his passing. But he certainly was unable or unwilling to adapt, and I didn’t think his soccer IQ was particularly stratospheric. If he’s truly the most talented player on the club, he should be able to find a way to use his talent. He was not without his chances. He simply couldn’t stick because purportedly less “talented” players were outplaying him. He was not riding the pine last season because he cost too much. Adu is a classic sunk cost. Waiting and hoping for him to find chemistry with various players is a fool’s errand. Time to move on.

    • If you made up your mind, and don’t want it to be a distraction, it makes sense. Hack comes out now, says what the state is loud and clear, and everyone shuts up. Also, no point having Freddy in the locker room if you don’t think he’s a good fit there / he’s upset (both of which seem to be true).

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