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Union Notes: Hackworth discusses impending Adu move, Soumare’s trade request, and more

Freddy Adu

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Freddy Adu’s move to Brazilian club Bahia is not yet official, but the Philadelphia Union are working hard at make sure it gets done in the coming days.

Union head coach John Hackworth confirmed and discussed Adu’s impending switch to Bahia (which was reported by SBI last week) in his weekly press conference on Wednesday, and was careful in talking about the potential deal. Hackword stated that while both clubs want to finish the deal for the out-of-favor midfielder, nothing was finalized yet.

“There’s still some hurdles that have to be stepped over in order for that to be done,” said Hackworth. “The reality is that we think it’s a good situation for both Freddy and the Union and it could potentially bring us a very high-profile player from Brazil.

“I’ll confirm that player is Kleberson, but the deal is not done yet so there’s not a lot of details I can talk about.”

Hackworth added that one of the last steps in making the move happen is Adu needing to head to Brazil to meet with Bahia officials. The Union head coach also said that no cap space would be freed up by the looming deal and that Adu drew interest from teams in Mexico, Europe, Asia, South America and Australia.

“He’s the type of player and has the type of name that attracts that interest no matter what,” said Hackworth. “Finding a situation that worked out for both parties made it much more difficult.”

Here are more notes from Hackworth’s conference call on Wednesday:


While much of the talking point during the press conference was about Adu, Hackworth also spent a chunk of it discussing Kleberson. Hackworth revealed he knew about Kleberson from when he was a member of the 2002 World Cup-winning Brazil squad and admitted he was somewhat surprised to know that the 33-year-old midfielder was available to help further fortify Philadelphia’s midfield.

“Kleberson was presented to us as a player before we had any discussions with Bahia about Freddy,” said Hackworth. “I’ll tell you this: I remember sitting on my couch in 2002, drinking a bunch of cups of coffee so I could say awake, but I was amazed by his performance at that World Cup. He was a bit of a revelation (then), so the first time that name came across my email I was like, ‘Wow. He’s a great player.’

“We have a couple of different scouting networks that we use, so initially I got on the internet and did a bunch of research and found out what he was doing. That’s how this started with Kleberson and later on the Freddy situation, it just came together.”


From one headache to another.

Another topic that Hackworth had to touch on on Wednesday was Bakary Soumare’s trade request. Soumare recently made it known that he wanted to find a new home in MLS after struggling to find playing time since joining the Union last season, but Hackworth said the Mali centerback has not seen consistent minutes due to the stellar play of Amobi Okugo and the addition of Jeff Parke from the Seattle Sounders.

“The coach’s decision was to play Amobi and Jeff (in the season opener) and Baky wanted to be traded at that point,” said Hackworth. “It throws a wrench in our plans overall and we try to do what’s best for the player and organization and we’re still in the process of weighing that out because Baky is still a Philadelphia Union player.

“I can’t tell you how this is going to go. We’re hopeful that we can find a resolution for both us and him, but we value Baky. There’s a reason we brought him here, there’s a reason he’s still here and however it plays it out over the next couple days or weeks or months, we’ll just have to see.”


Like the Adu-for-Kleberson deal between the Union and Bahia? Do you see Kleberson fitting in well in MLS and with the Union? Should Philadelphia just hold onto Soumare?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Anytime Lahoud touches the pitch you have to wonder what Hack is thinking. If he thinks Okugo is first choice over Soumare, fine, but both Okugo and Soumare are better defenders and passers than Lahoud. Instead of subbing Lahoud in, Okugo should push up to his natural DM role (along side, or to replace Carroll) and Soumare should come in at CB. Additionally, why was Albright brought on instead of Soumare against New England?

    After discussing it with a friend, we wondered whether or not Klinnsman may be requesting Okugo develop as a CB due to the weak USMNT pool, influencing Soumare’s benching.

  2. This is obviously one man’s trash for another. Adu is a problem here and Kleberson can’t get on the field with a struggling Brazillian team.

    • Just because Kleberson isn’t featuring for Bahia right now doesn’t mean he’s trash. There are plenty of reasons other than quality that can keep a player off the field. The Union themselves have multiple examples of that (Torres, Soumare, etc.).

      • I completely agree. Carrol’s age has been catching up with him big time and while he is in a CDM role, he gives you nothing moving forward. I feel Okugo could do everything Carrol does and then some.

  3. I wonder about issues with Hackworth too. Players are a reflection of leadership. Players, a few, want out, says something about Hackworth. Kleberson is a rental type player and not a player to be part of the core of the team for years to come. Normally when two teams trade the team with the best players wins the trade and in this case it is Adu. Bahia wins this trade. Hackworth is trying to rent what he cannot sign or coach out of a player.

    • I don’t see how you think Adu is the better player when he’s played in 6 different countries in 7 years. At least Kleberson has a World Cup to his name.

    • One player wants out in Soumare and the other is a player the team wants out. I don’t think he is the best coach but Le Toux wanted back and Parke requested a trade with the Union being a preference. Parke is a different situation from Le Toux as this move brought him home where Le Toux would not have been back if Nowak was still at the helm. If we start to hear grumblings from starters or others not feeling snubbed then it could become an issue. I believe Torres may soon ask out if he doesn’t see the pitch, and if Kleberson comes in since most reports have him as a box to box CM with a bit more tendency to attack then D Torres may have even less of a chance.

    • Bahia wins this trade? Adu was going to sit out and collect a paycheck, they had no choice, at least now they get a “rental” player for a couple of years. With the amount of turnover in professional soccer I’m pretty sure you could classify 75% of all pros as “rental players”. If not more.

  4. You have to wonder if there is an issue with Hackworth. First, it’s Adu. Granted that there is this notion that Freddy has a bad work ethic, you still would like to play a talented player who has proven that he can make the team better instead of benching him, not to mention the amount of money he makes only to ride the pine. Now, it’s Soumare, who is a known good defender, formerly both for the Chicago Fire and Boulogne and a Malian international. He also has some baggage when he clashed with ex-Fire coach Hamlett but it’s just coincidental that players are wanting out of Philly. Any thoughts from Union fans?

    • My take with Soumare is that Okugo was the better start for the game against SKC. Once the game passed, if that was when Soumare asked out so Hack sat him. If you are to believe Hack and Soumare was to start sometime in the first three games but the trade request comes through do you then stick with Okugo? Now after three games Parke and Okugo are playing well together with each getting on some weekly best XI lists, Parke vs NE and Okugo vs Colo. that would make the decision even harder, 3 quality CB with only 2 starting spots. Who sits? I would have liked to see Baky vs NE with Carroll getting spelled by Okugo but benching the captain, even if he hasn’t played like he can, is always tough (unless you are Nowak and you are already imploding the team).

    • Adu is a notoriously difficult player. His issues were explicitly about the Union not wanting to continue to pay him an outrageous price for a mediocre output. Soumare got squeezed by the emergence of Amobi Okugo as CB. It is surprising that Hacks hasn’t tried Okugo at DM (his natural position) to see if they could get Okugo, Parke and Soumare on the field together, but Soumare and Adu were both Nowak’s late term projects. While it’s far from impossible that the players have an issue with Hack, it’s more likely that they have more of an issue with not being played. Soumare’s seems like a call for more playing time (wherever that may come) as much as a call for a trade.


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