After mulling retirement, Freddy Adu set to end long hiatus by signing with Swedish club
WASHINGTON – With his professional playing career in limbo for the better part of a year and directionless for even longer, Freddy Adu came close to retiring this winter.
But the onetime teenage phenom has decided to soldier on, with Goal.com reporting on Friday that Adu will soon sign with a club in the Allsvenskan, Sweden’s top flight – and hopefully begin rebuilding a reputation which has become synonymous with unfulfilled potential.
After parting ways with Serbian club FK Jagodina following a short stint there last year, Adu has spent the past few months at home in Potomac, Maryland, working out and keeping a low profile – with the exception of a few nightclub appearances in Washington, D.C. – while he considers his next move.
The face of Major League Soccer when he made history as a 14-year-old No. 1 SuperDraft pick in 2004, his ambitions to become a global soccer superstar have taken him to Portugal, France, Greece, Turkey, Brazil and Serbia since he left MLS in 2007, only for consistent quality and steady playing time to elude him time after time.
Adu has shown flashes of exceptional ability on many occasions, including some quality play upon his arrival at Benfica, years of outstanding work with the U.S. U-20 national team and a solid Gold Cup tournament with the U.S. senior squad in 2011. But he’s often seen his progress undermined by upheaval at his clubs and questionable decisions by him and his management, dating back to when he was advertised as “the next Pele” by MLS and its commercial partners before he’d even played a professional match.
“Everyone – MLS, his agents, his handlers – all were concerned about marketing and money,” noted one source with decades of experience in world soccer. “The last thing on anyone’s mind was soccer.”
Adu’s management team has steadfastly declined interview requests of late. But multiple sources have informed SoccerWire that Adu was contemplating calling time on his career altogether, despite the fact that he’s recently been approached by MLS and NASL clubs seeking his services. Most have requested that he prove himself via trial stints before signing a contract, however, something that surely stung the immensely talented playmaker’s pride.
And pride appears to be an influential factor in Adu’s decision-making, with the Ghanaian-born prodigy apparently still hesitant to accept any option that might be perceived as second-rate.
“I can only see him at an NASL club,” one very well-connected source told SoccerWire, “but Freddy’s ego won’t allow that.”
With many months gone by since his last meaningful action on the field, however, the clock was ticking on any hopes Adu might have held out for a career renaissance. And in Sweden – where the Allsvenskan has long proved a useful stage for Americans and a locally-based agent has been working on his behalf for months – he seems to have identified the best possible spot to make his comeback.