Freddy Adu: the world’s first washed-up 19-year-old

This post originally ran on our sister blog, Fire Alexi Lalas, last week. Since it is related to the USMNT, we thought we’d re-post it here on Project 2010.

On January 29th, Soccer by Ives correspondent Sulaiman Folarin wrote an article on Freddy Adu’s concerning lack of minutes at Monaco. Here are some highlights:

Can anyone explain why American sensation Freddy Adu is not getting more playing time with mid table AS Monaco in the French Ligue 1?

-19 years old

-Been there half a season

-Lack of work ethic?


Yes Adu did not dazzle in MLS when he played for DC United

14 years old.

or Real Salt Lake

16 years old.

But after riding the bench with Benfica, a loan to Monaco looked pleasant for Adu in the form of experience and with fellow Africans in the league, he has to succeed, right?

1. 18 years old. 2. Huh?

His last game for Monaco was on December 21 against Girondis Bordeaux.

Little known fact: Girdondins de Bordeaux changed their name to Girondis Bordeaux to appeal to the city’s growing Greek population, I guess.

Loan deals are done most times for players to get experience and playing time. Manchester United sent Tim Howard to Everton and the Toffees eventually signed the American numero uno.

Agreed. But let’s not forget that Tim Howard was 27 years old, played 45 games for Manchester United (not to mention his 85 with the MetroStars), had Champions League experience, won the Community Shield and FA Cup, and was named to the PFA Best XI in 2004–the numero uno keeper in the Premier League with his 1.0 gaa and 177 saves. Freddy’s credentials are nowhere near that level.

Regarding potential moves that might help Adu re-vitalize his career:

What about the Dutch league with PSV Eindhoven where DaMarcus Beasley was a success? Maybe even Ajax

I don’t necessarily think a move to either club would be a bad idea, but I have to point out the flaw in logic here. Soccer by Ives (Ives Galarcep, in particular) has been pretty critical of Freddy Adu’s defensive abilities. Apparently the solution to this problem is to send the kid to a league that averages the most goals-per-game of any in Europe (of the major leagues, at least). In fact, Holland’s 2.98 gpg is nearly a full goal more than France’s 2.23 and Portugal’s 2.10. I have to question what this league would do to strengthen Adu’s “shaky defense.”

VERDICT: I don’t completely disagree with Sulaiman’s point. I can’t pretend that 2008 (or 2009, so far) has been a successful year for Freddy. I can’t pretend I didn’t expect him to get more playing time at Monaco. But I don’t think Freddy needs to do anything drastic. Above all else, he needs to pick a team and stick with it for two years (don’t leave on loan again). Let’s not forget that Clint Dempsey struggled for minutes in his first year at Fulham. If Adu doesn’t see significantly more clock by the end of his second season with his next club (age 21 or so), then, perhaps, we should start to freak out. But for now, everyone needs to settle down.

By the way, it’s ironic that the same US fans that criticize Adu for his bad attitude and poor work ethic also think he’s entitled to a spot on a mid-table French team’s roster. If you honestly believe Adu has a bad attitude (he has seen a reduction in minutes over time at both Benfica and Monaco, so this theory isn’t entirely unreasonable), isn’t batting for playing time exactly what this kid needs for his growth and development?

One side note: I know Sulaiman’s article was only a blog post, but is a little editing too much to ask? I’m not here to play grammar police, but this post was a little tough to read.


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