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Freddy Adu

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Freddy Adu

Freddy Adu
Adu playing for the United States at the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup
Personal information
Full name Fredua Koranteng Adu
Date of birth (1989-06-02) June 2, 1989 [1]
Place of birth Tema, Ghana
Height 5 ft 8 in (1.73 m)[1]
Playing position Attacking midfielder
Club information
Current team
Tampa Bay Rowdies
Number 9
Youth career
2002–2003 IMG Academy
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2004–2006 D.C. United 87 (11)
2007 Real Salt Lake 11 (1)
2007–2011 Benfica 11 (2)
2008–2009 AS Monaco (loan) 9 (0)
2009 Belenenses (loan) 3 (0)
2010 Aris (loan) 5 (1)
2011 Çaykur Rizespor (loan) 11 (3)
2011–2013 Philadelphia Union 35 (7)
2013 Bahia 2 (0)
2014 Jagodina 0 (0)
2015 KuPS 5 (0)
2015 KUFU-98 (loan) 3 (2)
2015– Tampa Bay Rowdies 6 (0)
National team
2002–2003 United States U17 15 (16)
2003–2009 United States U20 33 (16)
2008–2012 United States U23 11 (5)
2006–2011 United States 17 (2)

* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of October 17, 2015.
† Appearances (goals)

‡ National team caps and goals correct as of March 27, 2012

Fredua Koranteng "Freddy" Adu (born June 2, 1989) is an American soccer player who plays for Tampa Bay Rowdies of the North American Soccer League. Adu plays primarily as an attacking midfielder, but he is also used as a winger or forward.[2]

At the age of 14, he became the youngest athlete ever to sign a professional contract in the United States, after he was selected by D.C. United in the 2004 MLS SuperDraft on January 16, 2004. Three months later, on April 3, 2004, he became the youngest player to appear in a Major League Soccer (MLS) game when he came on as a substitute in a game against the San Jose Earthquakes. Two weeks later, on April 17, he became the youngest scorer in MLS history, scoring a goal in a 3–2 loss to the MetroStars.

From even before the time of his signing with D.C. United, Adu was spoken of and treated as the future of United States soccer;[3] even being referred to as "the next Pelé".[4] However, he failed to live up to the expectations and after leaving D.C. United in 2006, has turned into something of a journeyman,[5] playing for thirteen teams in eight different countries – the United States, Portugal, France, Greece, Turkey, Brazil, Serbia and Finland.


  • Childhood 1
  • Professional career 2
    • Signing with MLS 2.1
    • D.C. United 2.2
    • Real Salt Lake 2.3
    • Benfica 2.4
      • Loans 2.4.1
    • Philadelphia Union 2.5
    • Bahia 2.6
    • Trials 2.7
    • Jagodina 2.8
    • KuPS 2.9
    • Tampa Bay Rowdies 2.10
  • International career 3
    • Youth teams 3.1
    • Senior team 3.2
  • Personal life 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


Adu, a Ghanaian American, grew up in the port city of Tema, Ghana, where he played soccer against men three times his age.[6] When he was eight, his mother won the Green Card Lottery, and his family moved to Rockville, Maryland, in the United States, where he attended Sequoyah Elementary School. In 2003, he became a U.S. citizen. Soon after arriving in the United States, he was discovered by a local soccer coach and began playing with boys several years older. Adu attended The Heights School, a private school in Potomac, Maryland, for several years.[6]

While playing with the U.S. Olympic Development Program in an under-14 tournament against the youth squads of such traditionally strong Italian teams as Lazio and Juventus, Adu's team won the competition, he led the tournament in scoring, and he was named MVP.[6][7]

Professional career

Signing with MLS

At the age of 14, Adu became the youngest American ever to sign a major league professional contract in any team sport when he was chosen by D.C. United as the number one overall pick in the 2004 MLS SuperDraft.[8] He won the MLS Cup title with them later that same year. In order to allow Adu to play close to home, MLS assigned him to D.C. United on November 18, 2003, working a deal with the Dallas Burn, who owned the top pick in the 2004 MLS SuperDraft. Dallas was compensated with a player allocation. Having already signed with D.C. United, Adu effectively became the first player selected in that draft, two months before it officially took place. D.C. United had previously signed American youngsters Bobby Convey in 2000, and Santino Quaranta in 2001—both aged 16 and the youngest player in MLS at the times of being drafted.

D.C. United

Adu playing for D.C. United

On April 3, Adu came on in United's first game of the 2004 season against the San Jose Earthquakes as a second-half substitute, making him the youngest player ever to appear in United States professional sports. On April 17, at the age of fourteen, Adu scored his first professional goal in the 75th minute of a 3–2 away loss against the MetroStars. He became the youngest player in MLS history to score a goal.

In his first season as a pro, Adu finished the year with five goals and three assists, while playing in all 30 regular season games. Although briefly a starter, Adu was relegated to a substitute when D.C. United acquired central midfielder Christian Gómez mid-season, and it was in this role that he appeared in United's MLS Cup victory. He played in three of four playoff games by D.C. United, assisting in one goal during that time.

Adu was criticized from a number of different angles in his first season as a professional. Some commentators have suggested that Adu was too young to be playing professionally and that he needed more time to develop mentally and physically amongst players his own age. In his second season, he was suspended for one game[9] after he complained about his playing time in the media.[10] During November 2006 Adu had a trial with English club Manchester United for a fortnight, but he was not able to gain a work permit and so could not play in any competitive games, and only trained with several players from the Manchester United academy during his two weeks.[11][12] Continued development, especially of his defensive skills, helped Adu become a starting midfielder during the 2006 season. In addition, Adu had been chosen to take spot kicks during D.C. United's two penalty shootouts—scoring on both attempts.[13][14] He was selected to the MLS All-Star team twice, once as a commissioner's choice and once as the coach's. He was selected to the MLS 2006 semifinals Best XI by Soccer America magazine. In 2005 he was nominated for FIFPRO Young player of the year.[15]

Real Salt Lake

On December 11, 2006, D.C. United traded Adu and goalkeeper Nick Rimando to Real Salt Lake in exchange for a major allocation, goalkeeper Jay Nolly, and future considerations.[16] Adu made his debut for Real Salt Lake on April 7, 2007, playing the full 90 minutes in a 2–2 draw with FC Dallas.[17] He scored his first goal for the club on May 20, 2007, converting a penalty kick in the 68th minute of a 2–1 loss to FC Dallas.[18] Adu went on to score his second goal with Salt Lake from another penalty in a 1–1 draw in an exhibition against Boca Juniors.[19] Adu was also captain of the U-20 United States men's national team in the 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup, where he made an impressive showing. After the conclusion of that tournament, Benfica of the Portuguese Liga secured Adu's rights from MLS for a transfer fee of $2 million.


On July 28, 2007, Adu opted out of playing for Real in their regular-season match, and later that day, boarded a plane to Portugal to negotiate with Benfica.[20] On July 30, Benfica issued an official statement announcing that Adu had been transferred to their club.[21] The following day, the signing was completed and he trained with the team in Lisbon. Adu cost Benfica US$2 million.[21] On August 14, 2007, Adu made his debut with Benfica against Copenhagen in a UEFA Champions League qualifying match, coming into the game in the 37th minute as a substitute.


In July 2008, Adu joined French club AS Monaco on a season-long loan, with an option to join the Ligue 1 club permanently at the end of the deal, an option that was eventually declined by Monaco.[22] In July 2009, after participating in the Gold Cup game against Honduras, he returned to Benfica for training.[23]

Adu was loaned to Portuguese club Belenenses for the 2009–10 season.[24] On October 13, Adu made his first league start in Portugal, a 1–0 loss to Nacional. Adu was injured just before half time, and was substituted.[25] In December 2009 Adu's season long loan was cut short.[26]

Adu signed a 12-month loan deal with Greek side Aris in January 2010,[27] joining fellow USA international Eddie Johnson. Assigned squad number 11, Adu made his debut on January 31 and assisted a 90th-minute goal by Johnson. He scored his first goal on February 14 against Ergotelis.[28]

On February 1, 2011, Adu moved to Turkish Second Division side Çaykur Rizespor on what was his fourth loan deal away from Benfica.[29] Adu made his debut for his new club on February 20.[30] He set up teammates Mithat Yaşar and Gökhan Kaba with goals in a 3–0 win over Orduspor and was named Man of the Match.[31] Two weeks later, on March 6, Adu scored his first goal for his new club in a 1–0 win over Gaziantep Büyükşehir Belediyespor.[32][33]

Philadelphia Union

In August 2011, Adu returned to Major League Soccer, signing with Philadelphia Union, reuniting him with former D.C. United and United States national U-23 coach Piotr Nowak.[34] Though terms were not disclosed, as per club policy, it was stated that he was not a designated player.[35] Adu debuted for Philadelphia Union on August 13 in a match against FC Dallas and scored his first goal for the club on September 7, 2011 against New England Revolution.[36]


On April 5, 2013, Adu Joined Bahia of Brazil. The deal also saw Kléberson move in the opposite direction.[37] He was released by the club on November 7, 2013.[38]


After his release from Bahia he started a succession of unsuccessful trials around Europe. In February 2014, Adu began training with Blackpool.[39] However, at the end of February they decided against offering Adu a contract, though they gave permission for him to continue training with club to aid his fitness.[40] In June 2014, Adu began training with Norwegian club Stabæk, managed by former United States national team coach Bob Bradley.[41] In July 2014, Adu joined Dutch club AZ Alkmaar on trial, but he did not convince the club to offer him a contract.[42]


After a trial with AZ that ended without a contract, Adu signed with Serbian club FK Jagodina on July 24, 2014.[43][44] On July 25, it was announced that Adu had signed a one-and-a-half year contract with Jagodina.[45] Adu made his debut for Jagodina on September 24, 2014, coming on as a second-half substitute in a Serbian Cup match against FK BSK Borča. To date, this is his only first-team appearance for the club. Adu was released by Jagodina, who opted not to renew his six-month contract, on December 21, 2014.[46][47]

Following Adu's release from Jagodina, Adu was linked with a move to the Swedish Allsvenskan in February 2015.[48]


On March 28, 2015, KuPS announced the signing of Adu on a one-year contract, subject to passing a medical.[49] Adu also played some games for KuPS' reserve team SC Kufu in the Finnish third division.[50] On July 7 of the same year Adu exercised an option in his contract to terminate it.[51]

Tampa Bay Rowdies

On July 14, 2015, Tampa Bay Rowdies of the North American Soccer League announced the signing of Adu. Contract details were not disclosed.[52] It is his 13th professional club.[53]

International career

Youth teams

Adu played for the United States in five international youth tournaments: the 2003 FIFA U-17 World Championship in Finland, the 2003 FIFA World Youth Championship in the United Arab Emirates, the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championship in the Netherlands, the 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Canada, and the 2008 Summer Olympics.

Adu captained the United States U-20 men's national team in January 2007 as it qualified for the 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Canada. By playing in the 2007 tournament finals, held from June to July, Adu became only the second player in the world to play in three FIFA U-20 World Cups.[54] On July 3, 2007, Adu scored a hat-trick in U.S.'s 6–1 victory over Poland in the group stage of the tournament. This accomplishment made him the first player to ever score a hat trick in both the U-20 and U-17 World Cups.[55] In the following 2–1 victory over Brazil Adu assisted on both USA goals by Jozy Altidore.[56]

Adu helped lead the U-23 men's national team in its campaign to qualify for the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China. He scored two goals from free kicks in the USA's 3–0 win over Canada in the semifinals of the tournament, which ultimately qualified them for the Olympics along with Honduras. He scored four goals in total in the three games in which he played, leading all players in scoring, and was selected to the tournament Best XI.[57]

Adu was named to the 18-man squad that represented the United States in the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.[58] Adu played in the first two games of group play against Japan and Netherlands. He assisted on a Sacha Kljestan goal in the Netherlands match, but he, as well as teammate Michael Bradley, was then suspended for the final game of group play against Nigeria after each player earned his second yellow card of group play late in the Netherlands match.[59] The US team was eliminated from the Olympics after falling to Nigeria.[60]

Senior team

Adu was called into the national team's training camp by coach Bruce Arena in January 2006 for a friendly match against Canada. Adu was capped in that game on January 22 (at 16 years and 234 days), becoming the youngest player to debut with the U.S. national team when he replaced an injured Eddie Johnson in the 81st minute at Torero Stadium in San Diego, California.

Adu made his first start for the senior international team in a friendly against South Africa on November 17, 2007.

Adu played in both legs of the 2nd round qualifiers for the 2010 World Cup against Barbados on June 8 and 22, 2008, starting in the latter. He provided the assist on Eddie Lewis' goal, the lone goal in the 2nd leg of the United States 1–0 victory (9–0 aggregate) in Barbados.

Adu scored his first international goal (at 19 years and 170 days) as a member of the full U.S. national squad from a free kick in a November 19, 2008, World Cup qualifier against Guatemala.

Despite a two-year absence from the national team due to his increasingly unstable club situation, Adu was a shock inclusion in the USA roster for the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup, making the team despite playing for a second division club.[61] After having failed to make an appearance in the team's friendly against Spain as well as the first four tournament matches, Adu was a surprise substitute in the semifinal against Panama, coming on in the second-half of a scoreless draw for Juan Agudelo. It was Adu's pass from mid-field that freed Landon Donovan on a counterattack, where he was able to cross the ball to Clint Dempsey for the winner.[62] Adu started the following game, the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup final vs. Mexico. He had a hand in both of the USA goals as they lost 4–2.[63]

Personal life

Adu dated American singer JoJo from May 2005 until September 2006.[64] A Washington Post article in November 2006 reported that the couple split after one year. JoJo mentioned on American Top 40 with Ryan Seacrest that she and Adu were still good friends.[65]


  1. ^ a b "Player Bio Freddy Adu". United States Soccer Federation. Retrieved November 19, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Gerente de futebol do Bahia compara contratação de Freddy Adu com a de Zizao". (EFE Brasil). March 20, 2013. Retrieved March 21, 2013. 
  3. ^ "Is the next Freddy Adu, well, Freddy Adu?". Daily Mail (London). 
  4. ^ "Freddy Adu is right on track – MLS – soccer – ESPN". November 1, 2011. Retrieved April 1, 2013. 
  5. ^ "Freddy Adu, 26, joins Tampa Bay – his 13th professional club". BBC Sport. July 15, 2015. Retrieved July 15, 2015. 
  6. ^ a b c Wahl, Grant (March 3, 2003). "Who's Next? Freddy Adu at 13, America's soccer prodigy has the world at his feet".  
  7. ^ La Canfora, Jason (August 24, 2001). "A 12-Year-Old's Amazing Feat".  
  8. ^ At the time, it was believed that a baseball player named Fred Chapman pitched one game for the Philadelphia Athletics of the American Association in 1887 at the age of 14. Subsequent research revealed that this player was actually named Frank Chapman, and was 26 years old when he made his sole big-league appearance.
  9. ^ "Fire, Adu-less United go scoreless in playoffs opener". October 21, 2005. Retrieved July 7, 2007. 
  10. ^ White, Joseph (October 18, 2005). "Upset over playing time, Adu hints at leaving United". Retrieved July 7, 2007. 
  11. ^ "Ferguson confirms interest in Adu". BBC Sport. November 10, 2006. Retrieved June 3, 2009. 
  12. ^ "Adu starts two-week Man Utd trial". BBC Sport. November 20, 2006. Retrieved June 3, 2009. 
  13. ^ "Looking back: Unforgettable in every way". May 11, 2005. Retrieved September 27, 2006. 
  14. ^ "FC Dallas use shootout to boot out D.C.". August 24, 2005. Archived from the original on November 25, 2005. Retrieved September 27, 2006. 
  15. ^ "FIFPro Young Player Award nominations announced". August 18, 2005. Retrieved May 16, 2007. 
  16. ^ "Ready for Freddy! Real Salt Lake acquires teen phenom Freddy Adu from D.C. United". December 11, 2006. Retrieved December 12, 2006. 
  17. ^ "Match Tracker: FC Dallas v. Real Salt Lake". April 7, 2007. Archived from the original on April 9, 2007. Retrieved April 12, 2007. 
  18. ^ "Match Tracker: Real Salt Lake v. FC Dallas". May 20, 2007. Retrieved May 20, 2007. 
  19. ^ "Freddy Adu still in Benfica's sights".  
  20. ^ Major League Soccer: News: Article
  21. ^ a b "Sport Lisboa e Benfica – Futebol SAD announces agreement of principle for the purchase of football player Freddy Adu." (PDF). SL Benfica (in Portuguese) (Published by CMVM). July 30, 2007. Retrieved October 4, 2010. 
  22. ^ Adu to return to Portugal's Benfica, May 8, 2009
  23. ^ Adu Returns to Portugal Soccer365, July 9, 2009
  24. ^ "Adu Sent To Belenenses On Loan –". August 31, 2009. Retrieved April 1, 2013. 
  25. ^ "Adu's first Belenenses start lasts 45 minutes".  
  26. ^ "Adu's loan to Belenenses reportedly killed". CNN. December 29, 2009. Retrieved May 2, 2010. 
  27. ^ Π.Α.Ε. Άρης Archived January 21, 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  28. ^ ":: Yanks Abroad – International Soccer, Made in America ::". Retrieved April 1, 2013. 
  29. ^ "Freddy Adu headed to Rizespor in Turkey". The Washington Post. 
  30. ^ [5] Archived December 15, 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  31. ^ "Adu named Man of the Match in 1st game with Rizespor | IMG Academy Blog". February 22, 2011. Retrieved April 1, 2013. 
  32. ^ "Çaykur Rizespor vs Gaziantep Büyükşehir Belediyespor LIVE Commentary –". March 6, 2011. Retrieved April 1, 2013. 
  33. ^ "Rizespor – Gaziantep 1–0 Freddy Adu – YouTube". March 6, 2011. Retrieved April 1, 2013. 
  34. ^ Goff, Steven (August 11, 2011). "Stats, scores and schedules". The Washington Post. 
  35. ^ Zeitlin, Dave (August 12, 2011). "Freddy Adu returns to MLS, joins Philadelphia Union". Retrieved April 1, 2013. 
  36. ^ "Union mount big comeback to tie Revolution 4–4". September 7, 2011. Retrieved January 12, 2012. 
  37. ^ Bahia official site: Adu signs for Bahia
  38. ^ """Freddy Adu to be released from Brazilian club Bahia due to "technical deficiencies. 
  39. ^ "Freddy Adu – Ten Years On" – Blackpool F.C.'s official YouTube channel
  40. ^ "No contract offer for Freddy Adu". Blackpool Gazette. Retrieved February 26, 2014. 
  41. ^ "Freddy Adu heads to Norway to train with Bob Bradley's Stabaek". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved June 22, 2014. 
  42. ^ "Freddy Adu's trial at AZ Alkmaar ends without a contract offer".  
  43. ^ [6] FK Jagodina: Fredi Adu stigao u Jagodinu (Serbian) July 24, 2014
  44. ^ [7] MLS Soccer: American Exports: Freddy Adu lands in Serbia with FK Jagodina – July 24, 2014
  45. ^ [8] Jevremović, G. Blic Sport: Jagodina dovela nekadašnjeg "novog Pelea", Fredi Adu potpisao za "ćurane" (Serbian) July 25, 2014
  46. ^ "Transfert – Jagodina vire Freddy Adu". L' 
  47. ^ "Freddy Adu on Twitter". Twitter. 
  48. ^ "Sources: Freddy Adu closing in on move to Sweden". February 27, 2015. Retrieved March 16, 2015. 
  49. ^ "Freddy Adu KuPS:n paitaan". (in Finnish).  
  50. ^ """KuPSin kohuhankinta lähtee seurasta – Freddy Adulla "uudet haasteet edessä.  
  51. ^ "Nytt klubb-brudd for Freddy Adu". (in Norwegian). July 7, 2015. Retrieved July 7, 2015. 
  52. ^ "News – Tampa Bay Rowdies". 
  53. ^ "BBC Sport – Freddy Adu, 26, joins Tampa Bay – his 13th professional club". BBC Sport. 
  54. ^ "Pato and Adu on top". Retrieved April 1, 2013. 
  55. ^ "Goal feast in the east". Retrieved April 1, 2013. 
  56. ^ The Official Site of U.S. Soccer
  57. ^ Concacaf
  58. ^ 2008 U.S. Olympic Men's Soccer Team Archived 6 June at WebCite
  59. ^ "U.S. Ties Netherlands 2–2 Forcing Pivotal Match Wednesday Against Nigeria".  
  60. ^ "Down to 10 Men After Three Minutes, Valiant U.S. Effort Falls Short as 2–1 Loss to Nigeria Knocks Them Out of 2008 Olympics".  
  61. ^ Freddy Adu gets another shot with U.S. national team – Total Soccer | Fútbol Total –
  62. ^ "2011 Gold Cup: U.S. Advances to Final". The New York Times. June 22, 2011. 
  63. ^ "U.S. Men Fall 4–2 in 2011 Gold Cup Final". U.S.Soccer. June 25, 2011. Retrieved June 6, 2014. 
  64. ^ Argetsinger, A; Roberts, R (June 2, 2006). "Freddy Adu Celebrates a Sweet 17". Washington Post. p. C03. Retrieved November 6, 2006. 
  65. ^ Argetsinger, A; Roberts, R (November 22, 2006). "Kramer's Tirade, Adding Insult to Inaccuracy. Love,etc.". The Washington Post. Retrieved January 23, 2007. 

External links

  • Freddy Adu on Twitter
  • MLS player profile
  • Freddy Adu profile at Soccerway
  • Freddy Adu profile at ForaDeJogo
  • Freddy Adu – FIFA competition record
  • Freddy Adu at
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