Sunday, January 30, 2011

Freddy Adu heading to another club another country...still not living up to billing

I do feel for Freddy Adu, granted because he shares a name with my son, but more because of the burden he has had to endure. Since the "superstar" title was prematurely forced onto the skinny 14 year old kid from Ghana, he has struggled to live up to the over-hyped expectations created by the media just 7 years ago. The latest in the Freddy Adu saga is that he will now go on a loan spell with Turkish club Rizespor. Um who are they you ask? Good question. They are a second division club in Turkey, not exactly the place the next Pele would be plying his trade. So now the young Adu has played in the US, Portugal, France, Greece and soon to be Turkey. That is quite the road show for a player that was suppose to take the footballing world and turn it upside down as well as propel US Soccer into the elite. Not sure that playing for Rizespor was in the cards for a player compared with Pele.

When he signed with DC United of the MLS at the tender age of 14, he was lauded as the answer to the US Soccer's need for a player of the level of Pele or Maradona. A talent that would carry the United States to global respect in the football world, maybe even lead the US to a World Cup title. Yet his club track record as well as his inability to carve out a place in the US national team speaks volumes of the harsh world of professional sports. Clearly Adu has some talent in his boots and a high level of skill, but it is equally clear that he has failed to develop to the degree necessary to become a solid professional...let alone an international star. Adu has remained optimistic stating that he is still young, true - he is only 21. But to put things in perspective, Lionel Messi is 23...and has been playing with the senior club since 2004.

This latest news only reminds me of how difficult professional sports are and in particular international football. Is Freddy Adu the biggest bust in modern football?

I will give him credit: unlike other US soccer players he has stuck it out in Europe and seems intent on working his way to one of the bigger leagues in Europe rather than high tail it back to the MLS.

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