Monday, November 22, 2010

Freddy Adu and Juan Agudelo

As reported by, Freddy Adu is now training with Randers FC in Denmark. According to Randers chief scout Peter Christiansen, 
"Freddy Adu's agent, whom I work very closely with in other respects, approached to inquire about the possibility that Freddy Adu could come to Randers to keep fit by participating in daily training," Randers chief scout Peter Christiansen told the club website. "We said 'Yes, of course' to get a player like Freddy Adu in training. Hopefully he can help to lift it further and also provide some inspiration for our own players.

No disrespect to Randers FC, but Adu seems to be perpetually moving down the world football ladder since his 2007 move to Benfica. With loans to Monaco, Aris, and Beleneneses, Adu has found very little time to settle down and earn playing time, and many would argue that this has stunted his growth as a footballer. In all fairness at 21, no one should be regarding Adu as a bust, but merely a player who seems to be unable to gain a foothold at a club.

As a growing soccer (football and also futbol) market, U.S. soccer and its stars frequently become victims of the modern sports hype machine, and with constant ESPN news stories and expectations, we often set the bar too high for emerging talent in the states. No other example of this is more clear than that of Freddy Adu.

Hearkening back to my middle school years, in between getting shoved in lockers and being generally picked on, I was able to catch wind of DC United signing a 14-year old "Pele" in Freddy Adu. As a child playing soccer in the Washington area around the time, I was ecstatic to have a player around my age playing for United, and as ESPN so journalistically coined him "the next Pele" we were all drunk off Freddy fever. The fact that America believed an MLS franchise had signed the next Pele made Fiorentino Perez LOLcano. 

Flash forward six years: still at Benefica- check, still not playing- check, brushing up on his Danish- got it. Things are not looking particularly bright for our young America.

With this news coming on the heels of USMNT's victory over South Africa in Cape Town, and an emergence of hopefully another U.S. talent- Juan Agudelo, the youngest American to score a senior goal, we are left with another decision- will we hype and sell him or allow him to grow. I hope the media, MLS, and Red Bulls decide to chose the latter and let this boy grow and refine himself through steady development instead of the constant movement Freddy had to endure. I would really love to see more gems like this in the future. Keep it up kid.

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