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Archive for December 12, 2006

Dec. 12, 2006 — Freddy Adu and perspective

Freddy Adu is being traded from D.C. United to Real Salt Lake.

Adu, for those of you who might have been living in the wilderness the last few years, was signed by Major League Soccer at the age of 14 and was seen as not only The Golden Child for American soccer, but as a marketing vehicle for MLS, D.C. United, Nike, and the Pepsi brand Sierra Mist. He was compared to Pele, given the ability he showed in the U-17 level. Some of his goals and accomplishments in the youth levels are amongst the most-viewed on YouTube.

But playing amongst men rather than boys, Adu showed mere flashes of brilliance rather than the incandescent fire that was expected of him. He did become a solid professional over the course of three seasons, playing 87 games, but scoring a mere 11 times.

Some of those 11 goals were absolutely breathtaking. A free kick from 19 yards that found the upper 90, a solo run at Salt Lake City that began with a “sombrerito” 40 yards out, a last-second deflected goal at Los Angeles.

But in total numbers, Adu’s career goal total is less than his teammate and MLS MVP Christian Gomez scored the entire 2006 season.

Clearly, Adu’s story is becoming one of unmet expectations, especially in the bigger picture of improving the fortunes of the U.S. men’s national team. He has merited only one appearance for the Stars and Stripes, and has not recorded a goal.

Compare that to the youth movement in U.S. field hockey, where teenagers Katelyn Falgowski and Katie O’Donnell have recorded 44 combined caps the last two years, and O’Donnell even has a goal to her credit.

But then again, there is a perspective to be had here. In March, Adu will be preparing for his first season with Real Salt Lake, and once he turns 18, he may be snapped up by a European club for a multimillion-dollar transfer fee.

Meanwhile, O’Donnell and Falgowski will be leading the United States U-21 national team for a warmup tournament in China a few months before the two embark on what could very well be eventful college careers.

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