Nearly four years to the day after he left for Portugal, Freddy Adu’s European adventure has ended. The oft-maligned midfielder, purportedly just 22, has signed a non-DP contract with MLS side Philadelphia Union, after negotiations broke down with Los Angeles-based Chivas USA. The move may have come regardless of his recent national-team stint under Bob Bradley, but anticipation was almost certainly heightened.
Adu was one of the top prospects in the world in early adolescence and joined D.C. United at age 14. After an indifferent few years in MLS and a trade to Real Salt Lake, Adu signed a contract with Portuguese giants Benfica. His move to Europe would prove to be an incredible failure. Benfica loaned him to four different clubs in multiple countries over four years, failing to establish himself until finally hitting bottom in the Turkish second division.
The move reunites Adu with Peter Nowak. The two had a tumultuous relationship together at D.C. United, though Adu later thrived under him with the U-23 squad at the 2008 Olympics. He has talent on the ball. The questions, as always, are whether he is willing to dedicate himself to the level required to capitalize on it and whether a team can be built around him to minimize the effect of his positional and defensive deficiencies.
As far as his national team career goes, playing consistently, at any level, will help his game and his chances for further call ups. With MLS salaries steadily increasing, one wonders if eventually other Americans wandering in the European wilderness, such as Michael Bradley and Jozy Altidore, may opt for the comfort and stability of home.
[Photo via Getty]