Freddie Adu

Discussion in 'Chelsea' started by BridgeMonkee, Sep 14, 2003.

  1. BridgeMonkee

    BridgeMonkee BigSoccer Supporter

    Jul 25, 2002
    Chelsea FC
    Chelsea will pay over £3m to poach 14-year-old American superstar Freddie Adu from under the noses of Manchester United. (Various) I have heard so many good things about this lad.

    Everton will offer Wayne Rooney a new five-year contract worth £9m when the young striker turns 18 next month. (Sunday People)

    Rooney is still a transfer target for Chelsea. (Sunday Express)

    Chelsea wanted to recruit Arsenal vice-chairman David Dein before they eventually turned to Manchester United chief executive Peter Kenyon. (Sunday Mirror)
  2. Clan

    Clan Member

    Apr 23, 2002
  3. Luther Blissets

    Luther Blissets New Member

    Aug 29, 2003
    From the Times
    August 18, 2003

    THE PROBLEM WITH child prodigies is that their futures are very difficult to predict. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart produced his first symphony at the age of 9 and went on to become one of the greatest composers in history. Pelé won the World Cup with Brazil at 17, proceeded to score 1,280 goals in official matches, and is regarded by many as the finest footballer ever. Then again, James Harries was a precocious antique dealer when he appeared on Wogan at the age of 12. Today, at 25, after losing a fortune and undergoing gender reassignment surgery, he is a she and is now known as Lauren.

    Freddy Adu, the United States Under-17 forward, has not composed a symphony and will not be making his professional debut for several years but, two months after his fourteenth birthday, he is the most discussed player at the Fifa Under-17 World Championships, presently being played in Finland. In his first match, he led the United States to a 6-1 thrashing of South Korea, scoring a hat-trick.

    It was exactly what the gaggle of scouts who had assembled in the southern Finnish town of Lahti wanted to see: vindication that the youngster was as good as the hype. Adu has been turning heads since the age of 9, when his local club travelled to Italy to play in an under-14 tournament against the likes of Juventus and Lazio. Despite facing opponents four years his senior, he was named player of the tournament.

    Inter Milan offered him a six-figure “development package” whereby they would send coaches to the United States to work with him before bringing him to the San Siro at a later date. Emelia, his mother, overwhelmed by the sudden attention and deluged with phone calls, took the wise route. She turned everyone down and got an unlisted telephone number.

    To Emelia, a no-nonsense lady who worked at two jobs in an office supply store to raise Freddy and his brother on her own, it seemed like sheer madness. A year earlier, when Adu was 8, she thought that she had struck the jackpot, winning the US Green Card lottery and emigrating from the Ghanaian port town of Tema to Washington. All she wanted was gainful employment and a solid education for her boys. What she got was a footballing phenomenon under her roof.

    The United States Soccer Federation (USSF)ushered Adu into its under-17 residency programme, moving him to Bradenton, Florida. The USSF’s programme is vaguely reminiscent of the old East German sports academies, albeit with more sunshine and less concrete. Children are given specialist training and, in their free time, receive private tutoring. In a country where professional clubs do not have academies, it’s supposed to be the best incubator for talent and Adu is the prize egg.

    He was due to receive his full United States citizenship in the autumn of 2001, but the attack on the World Trade Centre changed everything. The Immigration and Naturalization Service blocked his paperwork and it took intensive lobbying by USSF officials, including a rumoured phone call to Henry Kissinger, to ensure his citizenship in March of this year.

    Since then, the hype hasn’t stopped. Nike signed him to a million-dollar endorsement deal, something unheard of for a child of that age in a team sport. Peter Kenyon, the Manchester United chief executive, announced that the club had been following his progress for the past three years. His hat-trick on Thursday made the television news in America — quite a feat for football, let alone on the night that a power blackout plunged New York into darkness.

    Remarkably, he has played only a handful of competitive matches. Much of the interest comes from training sessions and friendly matches like the one last month, when he scored a hat-trick in just 24 minutes against the Blackburn Rovers youth team.

    Watching Adu play is a little like those old Super Mario Bros videogames after Mario eats the magic pill and moves at super speed. He seemingly has the ability to accelerate past rivals, coupled with the close control to operate in tight spaces. Throw in an excellent eye for goal, an innate creativity and a knack for delivering defence-splitting passes with radar accuracy and the package is complete.

    Adu’s precocious skills have prompted observers to wonder about his true age, a suspicion many African-born footballers endure. His birth certificate states that he was born on June 2, 1989, although the document was only filed in 1996. This is not unusual in many African countries, where births are often recorded several years after they occur, but it raises questions.

    Adu certainly looks like a 14-year-old. Documents are often doctored to allow older players who are bigger and stronger to compete against younger ones, but, at 5ft 8in and 10st, he is no bigger than the opposition and his skills are based upon speed, technique and creativity, elements that generally improve with age.

    If he fails, it wouldn’t be the first time that precocious talent has faltered. Nii Odartey Lamptey, a Ghanaian who played for Anderlecht at the age of 16, was named player of the tournament at the Fifa Under-17 World Championships in 1991. What followed was a lacklustre career that saw him make stops at Coventry City and Aston Villa, as well as in Turkey, Argentina and China.

    That is why Ray Hudson, the former Newcastle United midfield player who is now coach of DC United, the Major League Soccer (MLS) team, said of Adu: “A blind man on a galloping horse can see his talent. He’s a little Fabergé Egg, and everyone’s just trying to protect him.”

    Adu himself is wary of the perils of early stardom. “A lot of people have been hyped up to be great but just disappeared,” he said. “I promised myself that I would not be one of them.” Perhaps that is precisely what will prevent him from going the way of Lamptey. He seems to have a maturity and an intelligence well beyond his years. Indeed, because he was put forward two years in elementary school and has excelled under private tutoring, he is due to earn his high school diploma in May, a month before his fifteenth birthday. What is he going to do next? Play a few years, win a couple of World Cups and then reverse global warming by the time he is 30? Ray Hall, the Everton youth academy director, thinks he knows. “He needs to come to a club in England to expand his development, possibly Everton,” he said after watching Adu demolish South Korea. Alas, Fifa rules prohibit the international transfer of players under the age of 18. Which means that unless his mother gets a job on Merseyside, Adu will not be linking up with Wayne Rooney in the near future. * Rooney and Adu at Chelsea? *

    There is no real point in keeping him at Bradenton after next year: he’s simply too good for those around him. The most likely scenario is for him to sign for a big European club, who could then circumvent the rules by loaning him back to MLS until his 18th birthday.

    By that point, he is likely to have played for the United States in the 2006 World Cup at the age of 17, just like Pelé, just like Norman Whiteside. Which of these players he emulates remains to be seen, but, if character is anything to go by, bet on the former.
  4. GPK

    GPK BigSoccer Supporter

    Aug 5, 1999
    San Diego, CA
    Chelsea FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Adu is one of the best prospects on the planet. I'm not sure how you can sign a 14 year old from the US though

    BTW....Luther, links to articles only please
  5. Clan

    Clan Member

    Apr 23, 2002
    I just don't see why the powers that be at Chelsea would be geting involved in something like this at his age.
    Granted, Chelsea are starting to build a youth academy in Cobham, if planing permission is granted, with Abramovichs millions and one that is supposed to be a rival to the set up that Manchester United have.What better way to prove thai than by geting this kid from America.

    Then again, that could be a reason also, to try and one up United again given their reported interest.

    However, it just seems that it will be a legal mess and something that the club would be better off not geting involved in-at the moment.
  6. themightypuck

    themightypuck New Member

    Aug 6, 2003
    Pasadena, CA
    My understanding was they were going to loan him to mls (who would most likely allocate him to dc united) until he was 18. Stilll, all this sounds like the press looking for material.
  7. the101er

    the101er New Member

    Jan 29, 2003
    Abramovich just needs to buy an MLS franchise. How about NY/NJ? That would seem to fit.

    Of all of the places to live in the USA, most Euros would probably rather live in NY, over say KC or Columbus. Sign me up for the MLS pay-per-view package when the Metrostars get Cole, Smertin, Zenden, and JFH on a summer rehab program.

    Abramovich would then own soccer clubs in New York and London.

    Could he sign Adu to a $1 MLS contract, with a $20 million dollar Chelsea contract?
  8. themightypuck

    themightypuck New Member

    Aug 6, 2003
    Pasadena, CA
    Galaxy baby. But DC is where he's gotta be. Close to home and all. Still this all sounds like the typical British press rumor *@#*@#*@#*@# that has surrounded the Kenyon move to Chelsea.
  9. nyarsenal

    nyarsenal New Member

    Oct 1, 2003
    new york
    why would he go to chelsea when theres always the arsenal. his uncle is tony yeboah ex leeds, a big talented player in his day.
  10. Treetaliano

    Treetaliano Member

    Jun 29, 2002
    San Diego
    No he wasnt

    Totally different Tony Yeboah. 2 men. exact names.
  11. bigtoga

    bigtoga Member

    Sep 16, 2000
    Dallas, Texas
    If only MLS could be so lucky! Imagine MLS with an investor like Roman.

    And, by the way, you don't own a franchise in MLS, if I understand the "situation". You are an investor in the league. Someone can help out with clairification but, IIRC, this was the way it used to be. I haven't kept up with the news lately and things may have changed.
  12. neilgrossman

    neilgrossman New Member

    May 12, 2000
    Hoboken, NJ
    That's not how it works. The league owns all the players' contracts. The teams' owners really just operate the team, but own a fraction of the league. Although their losses/gains are partially determined by the sucess of their club, they do not own a franchise.
  13. red&black1

    red&black1 New Member

    Mar 8, 2003
    Kearny NJ
    Yes u can own a team in MLS. Just like AEG owns a few, Lamar Hunt, Kraft, and Stan Kroenke(sp?) who has just purchased the Rapids. The teams are run by MLS but aren't owned by MLS. Yes they are considered investors because they put up the money to try and make this league work (which is still losing money but starting to reach profitability).

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