Player of the Week

Player of the Week: Freddy Adu

And so continues the strange but true story of Freddy Adu.

The erstwhile American prodigy’s career has taken a circuitous route, from DC United to Real Salt Lake to Benfica in Portugal — from where he was loaned to AS Monaco of France, Belenenses of Portugal, Aris of Greece, and Çaykur Rizespor of Turkey — then of course to Philadelphia, and, finally, to Bahia of Brazil, where it appears he has signed a contract.

The terms of that contract, as yet unofficial, are unknown. It is unclear whether or not the Union will continue to pay some of his salary. What is clear is that the Adu-in-Philadelphia part of Freddy’s journey is coming to an end, which can only be called a positive thing for everyone involved. For Freddy, his umpteenth chance at resurrection is at hand, in a country that might value his style of play in a way MLS never did. For the Union, a reclaimed roster spot and being one step closer to a Nowak-free clean slate is in the cards.

Freddy’s story has not gone as he or any U.S. fan would have hoped when he burst on the scene as a fourteen-year-old. I, for one, was hopeful that his arrival in Philly would spark a revival of his best form, and that that form would carry a struggling Union offense to new heights. It never happened, of course. The blame for that failure is shared, I think, between Adu himself, Peter Nowak’s mismanagement, and finally John Hackworth’s reluctance to play Adu as Adu wanted to be played (with a dash of Lionard Pajoy’s poor finishing).

For his sake, I hope Freddy finds his feet. He is the sort of creative force that the U.S. men’s national team could certainly use, were he finally to harness his talent and link it to a team ethic. More than that, in the modern era of U.S. soccer, he was the first Great American Hope (to be honest, has there been another?), and I want to see him come good.

So, as we bid Adu adieu, we make him this week’s PSP Player of the Week and wish him all the best. Just don’t come back and play for the Red Bulls once your comeback’s complete.

Honorable Mention this week goes to Aaron Wheeler, who made the most of his appearance against Pumas UNAM by providing the assist for the winning (and only) goal by Michael Farfan, as well as winning a hatful of aerial challenges.


  1. Great little piece. Well-balanced, accurate, and classy summary. Thanks for writing it. Doop!

  2. Freddy don’t go away mad, Freddy just go away

  3. Reid Stever says:

    Strange how adu’s ego and inability to gel with teammates on and off the field is missed here (and in most Freddy articles). I think hackworth saw this from the start. Certainly adu’s biggest issue is never learning how to eat that humble pie. Ill take a “less talented” player with heart and dedication any day.

    • Steve Wilkos says:

      Exactly. This has been the main issue with Adu that no one talks about. He put himself before the team on many occasions, yet the fans think they know everything.

    • Has the Adu as clubhouse cancer rumors ever been substantiated. I know those rumors were flying around Carlos Ruiz and it turned out he was pretty well liked in the locker room.

  4. Southside Johnny says:

    Same punk I watched with DC at 14. Nobody to blame but Freddy. Good luck, Bahia.

  5. I am sure that Freddy has the issues that have been drawing criticism, and it is truly a shame that he has been unable to work through this stuff without the agita that the fans have undergone. I think that this perception of him as the “Great American Hope” was much too heavy for a fourteen year old, and that has permanently affected his ability to fit into a team. If a player hears that at the age that he did, can he be blamed for thinking that he is all of that and a bag of chips? I agree with the comment above- this is a nice, balanced piece and I wish Freddy well. I just hope that being in warm Brazil will not be all that he gets out of this; I hope that he gets coaching that will help him adjust his expectations of teammates to be more than just supporting players in Freddy’s mind.

  6. Well done not splitting that infinitive towards the end there.

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