Freddy Adu and the Long Road

For a guy who is about to celebrate his 22nd birthday, Freddy Adu must feel a lot older. Adu was propelled from being a talented youth player in Maryland to the savior of American soccer virtually overnight. As his fame plateaued, so did the interest from the big name foreign clubs who once offered millions for his services. His inclusion to this year’s Gold Cup squad has put him back on the radar, leaving many USMNT fans puzzled and some outspokenly angry.

There are many American soccer fans out there that will likely look at this as a last shot of sorts, this is short-sighted. There is a larger issue to the story which is our need to try and find one player who will single handedly thrust our nation upon the world stage as the next soccer superpower.

Freddy Adu became an international celebrity at an age when most of us were in middle school. The expectations put on him were astronomical, most adults would n0t have handled the spotlight as deftly as he has. However, this pressure has undoubtedly affected his game in a negative manner. Bouncing around from club to club, never getting solid playing time has left his confidence shattered. If you were to ask a casual soccer fan if Freddy Adu is a failure, I suspect many would say yes.

It’s important to remember though, that not only is he currently playing professional soccer (something most will never do), Freddy Adu is also 22 years old. He matured early and will never be able to crush players like he used to because everyone else has caught up.The expectations put on him at such an early age were nearly unachievable, making anything else look like dismal.

Freddy needs to get solid playing time week in and week out and the most logical choice for this would be the MLS. Adu could forge a new identify for himself by coming back to the States, find an MLS team and work his ass off to become a staple in the lineup. American soccer fans love a comeback story and a successful run with a team here would surely make the memories of failings in Europe fade away.

Finding a club where he knows he will be supported and given time to develop is crucial. A family environment can go a long way in making a player feel welcome and appreciated which can do wonders for their confidence.

Regardless of his playing abilities, Adu gets coverage. He has over 424,000 followers on Twitter, the MLS should be all over him trying to get him to come back and provide a spark for an underachieving team.

Freddy Adu will probably never be an MVP at the FIFA World Cup, but it’s wrong to say that he couldn’t have a great career as a professional player.