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Adu working his way back up the ladder


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Freddy Adu has had his share of ups and downs throughout his seven years as a professional soccer player. There were the highs of signing with MLS and Benfica, and enjoying success with the Under-20 national team, but there have also been lows, like bouncing around on a string of unsuccessful loan spells.

The 21-year old has found a new home and appears to be resurrecting a career that had stagnated in European backwaters the past few years. It may be in the Turkish Second Division, but Rizespor has given Adu a chance to play regularly, and the result has been success for both Adu and his new team.

Adu will be leading Rizespor into the Turkish promotion playoffs this weekend, and he will be looking to cap off a strong half season in Turkey by helping the club gain promotion to the Super Lig.

I had a chance to catch up with Adu recently to discuss his move to Turkey, his whirlwind journey, and that crazy beginning to his career by which far too many people still measure him.

Here is my Fox Soccer story on Adu. Give it a read and feel free to share your thoughts on Adu, his career and where you think he can go from here in the comments section below.


  1. It sounds like Adu is maturing and beginning to realize what he must do from a work rate standpoint. Too many accolades and attention were thrown his way when he was WAY too young, and still essentially unproven. If this guy can keep moving in the right direction, he could be a seriously dangerous striker or midfielder for the Nats down the line. Turkey is a perfect place for him to continue to develop the technical aspect of his game, as the Turks tend to play a very fast but exceedingly technical style. I have to admit that I sometimes forget that’s he’s still only 21. That’s about the age Donovan began to make his mark with the MNT in the 2002 WC.

  2. “theoretical production on the part of Adu”? What part? First person to score a hat-trick? competing for MVP? Assisting Altidore and Johnson in scoring goals? If you are going to comment at least know what you are talking about. 2 goals in 11 appearances for Benefica, 9 appearances for AS Monaco…Not big teams?? He breaks into the first team everywhere he goes on loan….unlike some players on the national team that can’t even make the bench.
    with Adu on the pitch it means we wont have room for one of our CDM players. Jones is on fire and is going full 90 in the EPL, so that leaves him to compete with someone else……and that’ll happen when hell freezes over. Adu and BB is like water and oil….will not mix.

  3. This guy has gone through a lot and he is only 21. Congratualions to him for sucking it up and performing well.He could have given up several times. he seems to be in a groove now. I hope he has a great career.

  4. I’m always amazed at how many people love to comment on this kid. I hope Adu climbs the ladder and develops into a decent player. I have always thought that his biggest issue is that he con only play one position on the field..Atacking mid. His defense is to lacking for a Left winger and he isn’t strong enough to play up front. He finally has a team who will play him in his best spot and he’s having some success. Best of luck Freddy.

  5. That is all well and good but you are still talking about theoretical production on the part of Adu. It is only now in last year in Turkey and to some extent at Aris that Adu has started producing at the senior level on a consistent basis.

    Under whatever results do not count in the big time (or in Europe). Thta’s like saying somoene is a great all time AAA slugger. Yeah, well that;’s AAA not the majors.

    In the meantime while Adu was off learning how to be a pro, the US team has moved away from what you call an “ACM”. The current team and the way it is likely to be set for a little while is based on providing a platform for only the two legitimate dangerous players, Batman and Robin, to provide our scoring and attacking threats.

    If Adu continues to do well I’m sure BB will find a way to fit him in somewhere, depending on how well Freddy does. Look at how he immediately changed things around for Chandler.

    BB is no diffent from any other manager. Give him a tool he can use and he’ll use it.

  6. I feel like I’ve been defending Adu for a while (based mostly on age), so I guess it’s nice to see that someone else agrees. That said, something bugged me about he article…

    Has Freddy ever truly been open to playing something besides attacking mid? I feel like he’s consistently said for years that it’s his natural position and it’s what he wants to play. In the end, it may be true, but I get the feeling hasn’t really given other things an honest go, or did so with the opinion that it’s sub-optimal in the back of his mind.

  7. -Jozy hasn’t failed in the La Liga (Not the Spanish Primera). He hasn’t yet been given a chacne there and he is still under contract to Villarreal.

    – Adu didn’t fail in the Greek Super League since it whatever the reason he isn’t there anymore seems to be due to a business move off field.

    -Agudelo won’t be on the bench in MLS permanently so how can you call it a failure at this time.

    The thing about you asking:

    “What’s worse… failed stints in Spanish Primera, Greek SuperLeague or bench player in MLS?”

    is that they were good enough to get asked, and paid, to “fail”.

  8. Honestly at this point Freddy deserves much respect if he can just be a normal well adjusted adult person with a decent career. If he doesn’t end up effed-up MJ style he’s a very strong person. Good on ya Freddy.

  9. A good barometer to judge Freddy’ s talent by is to look at how well he and his other teammates did at the U-20 level and how poorly those teams have looked in the two most recent cycles. It’s a very steep drop off. Freddy has done stuff on the field that no other US player has even tried. He can make magic happen on the attacking end. And that’s what soccer is all about. A few moments of magic. Remember that game against city i think when Rooney was looking terrible then he pulled off that overhead kick. I am not saying Adu is Rooney or anyone else, but such players belong on the field because even when they are not playing their best they can create the moments of magic that win games. I hope we get a chance to see more of that Adu magic this summer.

  10. For this club, their biggest games of the season are NOW (the playoffs for promotion). If they were to win promotion without Adu, it encourages them to consider upgrading their A-mid spot. If they win promotion and Adu is there AND plays well, it doesn’t prevent them from upgrading that spot but it does increase the likelihood that Rez would shop around.

    As for your argument that national teams have clubs/players at their mercy–I beg to differ. First, any player can opt out. Didn’t Brad Guzan do that for this summer? Second, clubs–all the time–request exemptions or complain. Some even sue NT’s b/c of injuries. And there’s a big difference between releasing someone 3 days before a match and in a total of 5 days they’re home versus releasing Adu 14 days before the Gold Cup and then he’s gone for almost a month. Oh, and he’s not flying 2-3 hours to someplace in Europe, it’s 10 time zones away from Istanbul.

    If you think this is a dead issue, google some of the grief that Arena had to deal with on John O’Brien at Ajax or Kasey Keller with some of his English clubs. USNT coaches have frequently not called a player up b/c it would endanger that player’s playing time.

  11. I still have high hopes for Freddy, and I think all US supporters should also. I’ve noticed a complex among my fellow US supporters. By and large, we are very impatient, very quick to judge, and very sure of their perceptions. We feel second-rate when we see other countries’ young players cracking through in Europe while our young talent over there is being loaned out or buried on the bench. What those reactionary supporters don’t realize is that this is how most players in Europe earn their way to the big leagues and clubs. They train, they go on loan spells, and they contribute until their form dictates a move up. Freddy could have skipped this journeyman episode by staying in MLS for another few years, but I think his reward for sticking it out through the bowels of European football will be greater in the end.

    I started thinking Adu was letting his head grow faster than his legs would allow. But maybe he just didn’t find the right fit at Monaco. I’m willing to believe that if he keeps developing his game and getting minutes in Turkey. I absolutely don’t want him back in MLS. If he helps Rize move up and earns a steady place in their squad, it can only mean good things for his future, even if he may never be a superstar. If he comes back to MLS, he will be accepting mediocrity and opening himself up to harsh criticism at every turn.

  12. Going to his national team would show his club they can’t rely on him? That is a ridiculous assertion when national teams have clubs/players at their mercy.

  13. And someone who has been to the Olympics before might actually help this U-23 team qualify unlike the U-20 team this year, because I have a feeling a few of those players will be on the U23 team.

  14. Hopefully the can get promoted and he’ll be able to play a full year with one team, then possibly get on the Olympic team which would set him up perfectly to make the 2014 WC. And his contract is up with Benefica in 2012, so a solid year at possibly Rize in Turkish 1st, and a good olympics would help a ton with a new contract.

  15. I agree. I like to see people succeed in life, to fulfill their potential. Would be great to see him suit up and score important goals for the USMNT someday.

  16. Very good points made and these are reason why I would still like to see our players do a few years of college. Going the pro route so young backfires for so many. I know the college game has its problems but it is getting better and better in that regard.

  17. I am afraid i disagree– a longer stay in MLS would not likely have changed anything. He has shown for years to be uncoachable, and only now begun to even possibly show the willingness to change. All of the coaches from the MLS, National team(S), and overseas clubs haven’t gottent hrough to him. At least one of those many teams who paid ALOT of money to him would have kept him — IF — they thought that he was ‘coachable”. The only reason Rizespor is taking a chance on him is that he that it is costing them almost nothing.

    He was a spoiled kid who never matured—-maybe he is now….?? Finally.

  18. I just hope, and I have been led to believe, that US Soccer saw the folly in the system and it’s been fixed or will be. If he really was talented, and imo at the ripe age of 14 it’s too early to tell, then its a shame he had to take such a journey that isn’t even over yet. Then again, they say that one doors closing leads to anothers opening. Maybe it will all end up better for him and us in the end.

  19. Amen to that.

    It is almost as if Adu doesn’t realize that his career is REALLY bound upon his success with whatever CLUB team he is with and that the Nat’s are just icing on the cake. His priorities have ALWAYS been screwed or backwards up in this regard. Maybe because he has always had a large guarranteed salary at the a club and no one could hold him accountable—-but that will ed very son — and as JoeW said—he should be focusing on consistent strong CLUB performance.

    Well said JoeW.


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