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Rowdies officially announce acquisition of Freddy Adu

Freddy Adu USMNT 27



Looking for the type of stability that has eluded him throughout his career, Freddy Adu has teamed up with a familiar face and officially made his way back to the United States.

The Tampa Bay Rowdies announced late on Tuesday that they have signed Adu, who is reunited with head coach Thomas Rongen in an effort to to get his career back on track. The 26-year-old Adu, who was a free agent after recently leaving Finnish club KuPS, previously played under Rongen while with the U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team in 2007.

The NASL club plans to play Adu as an attacking midfielder in its 4-3-3 set-up, but also believes it could use him anywhere along the front line.

“We’re pleased to have Freddy Adu join our club,” said Rowdies principal owner Bill Edwards in a statement. “Our goal is to make the Rowdies the most successful club in North American soccer and this is just another step towards achieving that. I’ve spoken to Thomas about signing Adu and he is as excited as I am about this opportunity.”

A former U.S. Men’s National Team player with 17 caps and two goals to his name, Adu joins a Tampa Bay side that has gotten off to a 1-0-1 start in the NASL’s Fall Season. He adds experience and bolsters a Rowdies attack that already includes Maicon Santos, Darwin Espinal, Brian Shriver, and Corey Hertzog.

Adu also becomes one of the more recognizable names in the league, alongside the likes of New York Cosmos duo Raul and Marcos Senna.

“Freddy and I have always respected each other,” Rongen said in the same statement. “He’s a very unique player, very gifted. He’s a difference-maker. He’s got superb technical ability and field awareness.

“He’s a guy that I’ve always enjoyed being around on and off the field. He’s got a wonderful sense of humor and is a good teammate. He can make any team better.”

Before signing for KuPS back in March, Adu was under contract with Serbian side Jagodina and Brazilian outfit Bahia back in 2014 and 2013, respectively. He was with the Philadelphia Union prior to that.

Adu has played for 11 clubs since turning pro as a 14-year-old prodigy back in 2004. He is looking for consistent playing time after only making 14 competitive appearances since 2013.

“I’m someone he relates to and someone he feels comfortable with,” Rongen added. “I like daring, creative players and Freddy has those qualities. His signing has immense upside for a club that is already making its mark in the NASL.”

While it is unknown when Adu will make his Rowdies debut, their next game is on Saturday at home vs. FC Edmonton.

Here’s a brief video of Adu talking about his move:



What do you think about Adu signing with the Rowdies? Expecting things to work out for him under Rongen? Is Adu now the biggest name in NASL?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. there is not much of a rivalry between nasl and anybody – they went 0-7 vs USL teams this year, and the MLS teams always beat them eventually in the open cup as well…

  2. I only saw him play in the last Gold cup I think and he was the best player on the field. It didnt parlay into any big thing with the NATS. I don’t think JK liked him for what ever reason but he could have been so much but instead… became so Little. Maybe if he had changed his name to Jens of Gunter, JK would like him more?

  3. Really disappointed he didn’t join my Sunday co-ed league, but we couldn’t reach an agreement. I was hoping he was going to pay me to play but I guess he was under the impression I was going to pay him.

    We’re shifting our attention to Baloteli’s brother, Schweinsteiger’s brother, Kamani Hill, and Onyewu. Hopefully we’ll land one of them in time for the playoffs

      • Continuing my saga of trying to sign the best American in the history of soccer is no joke. One of our best players is going to a wedding Sunday and it’s the playoffs/championship game (if we win our first game at 4:15, we play at 6:15), so we need someone comparable to pick up.

        Beckham isn’t taking my calls anymore and Donovan got banned from the league after his tantrum from not getting invited to happy hour.

      • Yeah… but I heard you didn’t invite him to happy hour because you’d invited him before and he never came.

    • He didn’t help but Subotic was very probably always going to play for Serbia.

      Rongen just gave Subotic a good, media friendly excuse

    • Rongen didn’t cost us Subotic. He only lived here for 6 years. He lived in Germany until he was 10 years old and looked into playing for them. He was only looking at Serbia and Germany. Playing for the U20 was a way to get extra exposure. Remember, he never sought them out, they sought him out.

      And no, I don’t hold Rongen high in an international coaching capacity.

  4. I don’t get all these “Adu’s mother lied on the birth certificate” conspiracy theories. She had ZERO benefit of doing that to obtain the Visa lottery to come here. He came to the US at 8 years old, can you honestly tell me that US Soccer identified him as a soccer prodigy and had a fraudulent document produced just to put him in the pipeline? Not only is that unbelievable but they would have been crushed under a DOJ investigation (when Freddy arrived INS still existed under the DOJ not DHS umbrella).

    As someone who has seen MANY fraudulent documents from Ghana (and Nigeria, Benin–pretty much all of west Africa) they are pretty easy to spot and the average consular officer is not going to be fooled.

    • It wouldn’t have been for soccer reasons, or to help with the visa lottery. But once their names were picked, and the family had to get passports, there apparently are many people there who could advise the family about the difficulties Freddy might have in American schools unless they shave a few years off the top and put him into second or third grade.

      From what I understand, he was a smart kid and fast learner (he was later able to skip a grade). But coming out of a truly poor educational system and jumping straight into a Maryland middle school isn’t a winning formula. I also understand from a minister I know this is common procedure with American adoptions of older African children. Not a commentary on intelligence levels – just acknowledgement of how badly educated a lot of these kids are.

    • But, you know, it doesn’t really matter anymore. He isn’t playing in age groups now. There are people who think he’s 26 and people who think he’s over 30. Because none of us here presumably have any business interest in his remaining longevity as a player, it’s just pub banter at this point.

      • You are right.

        Whether Freddy is 35, 30 or 26 what he has to do in the next year or so is prove he can play right now.

        I sincerely doubt Tampa is looking at Freddy as a “long term” investment even if he has a “Feilhaber moment” and realizes that fitness and playing offense and defense might be important.

  5. This is a sure sign that NASL will be folding soon, come on now – Freddy can’t cut it in the Finnish 4th division! The nasl was 0-7 vs the USL, the league should fold and absorb into USL, the best franchises should expand into MLS eventually and cosmos can play in cuba.

  6. I say Adu gets 10 games before he gets dropped. Our company plays pickup soccer every Tuesday and Thursday after work Freddy. We can’t pay you but in exchange you will not have to play D either so it’ll be a fair exchange. This guy needs a 30 for 30 quick.

  7. I almost can’t believe the irony of Freddy and Dos Santos both signing for American teams on the same day. Who would have imagined they would both come to the states after they jumped to Europe, especially at 26*. I hope freddy does well. Great signing, and I was getting nervous there weren’t going to be any NASL moves the way this window has opened. Hopefully he can produce that magic on the field and really get things rolling.

    And I know it’s still way too early, but this excites me for the open cup. The dynamic of the NASL and MLS “rivalry” is really the only thing that makes pay attention to NASL. I really hope Freddy does well, and then sticks around in Tampa, to keep building up American soccer in general.

  8. A lot of misguided insults and hatred toward this man. Are we turning into English fans?

    I assume you’ve all accomplished more than Freddy has.

    • “Are we turning into English fans?”

      Not even close.

      Freddy has not been a serious player in a very long time. English fans wouldn’t even bother acknowledging someone that irrelevant. If they did they would be much more cruel on a personal level.

  9. Guys, be nice!

    Freddy is a special talent, he has pulled off some great plays against very good competition and is exciting to watch when he is on.

    Unfortunately, he has failed to impress coaches with an ability to be useful when he does not have the ball. Very few professional coaches believe they can afford to play with only 10 players most of the time. I really do not know if it is the inability to achieve a decent level of tactical understanding or if he is, as some claim, self-centered or lazy. Whatever the cause, it would be great to see him overcome that shortcoming and succeed.

    • He reminds me of a guy I played with in HS, varsity as a freshman based on skill, but no athleticism, got all-district and was college recruited but no one knew why, because we thought he was getting by on rep already at that level. Childhood star but short and slow and you could say lazy or maybe he knew windsprints won’t save slow much. Goes to college and does jack. Less heralded teammates with some height or speed or skill plus more hustle suddenly surpassed him. I think you hit that senior crossover and even if you stood out for skill before, if you ain’t fast or tall you better be hustling 90 and he ain’t. He’s a non jock who got by on skill but gets exposed as a coca cola player as an adult. He is no Valderrama so it won’t be tolerated.

  10. Same kind of publicity stunt as when Ft Lawderdale signed an over the hill Gerd Mueller. I guess Waldo and Hugo Perez must have turned Tampa down.

  11. MLS mismanaged Freddy? Didn’t Freddy get suspended for complaining about his playing time back in the day? The only people who have mismanaged him are himself and his advisors. If he’d had stayed at DC or the MLS and didn’t try to by out of the country as soon as he could things might be different.

    And what gifts do you speak of? As a Union fan I saw him play first hand for a season. Disappear for long stretches, selfish, turn over machine. “Sometimes” he’d do something outstanding. But with all the opportunities he’d take, anyone could produce something outstanding once in a while.

    • Can’t speak for Adu’s time in Philly, and yes the DCU front office suspended him for complaining, but you know what, Adu was right to complain. He busted his butt game after game playing a difficult position (outside mid in a 3-5-2) and got no credit for any of it. And you have to remember that DCU in the early days was a terrible place for young players — ask Convey or Albright how they were treated.
      Adu signing at such an early age with a MLS club was a big mistake. DCU had no idea how to develop young players.

  12. I cannot understand all the disparaging remarks Adu receives. Age, failure, et all…..Please note the prodigy was mis managed on all levels MLS, USSSOCCER, et all… The guy may prove everyone wrong. I for one am rooting for him. He has gifts that are rarely seen in our player pool here in the US.

    • I want Adu to do well as much as anyone else, but it’s easy to understand the remarks — he has failed and failed spectacularly everyone he has gone, including lowly clubs and divisions.

    • Ball skills have never been the issue, everyone has seen what his potential is. He just can’t hack the day to day grind that it takes to be professional athlete.

    • “He has gifts that are rarely seen in our player pool here in the US.”

      Those “gifts” by themselves are not enough to make him a good soccer player.
      He needs more than that.

    • Do you know how many gifted, talented players never even sniff the pro leagues for baseball, football, or basketball? Do you know how many 5-star recruits never pan out in college and hardly get any playing time? Annointing this kid as someone special enough for repeated consideration and attention based on talent alone is tiring. Talent and aptitude for the sport is only one part of the equation. Let it go. There are a lot of other prospects out there currently showing much more potential than our guy Freddy.

  13. Ibarra has shown that Klinsi won’t hesitate to pick players in NASL…Adu playing for Rongen could be interesting…dare I say Adu will eventually light it up (once he gets fit) and get a call up?

    • “Once he gets fit”…. When exactly do you expect that to occur? He’s had fitness issues (complaints) from his coaches for the last 6 years.

      • I’m not sure if it was fitness or attitude or both…but it is amazing what you can do when you have a coach that believes in you and pushes the right buttons. On the other hand ask Falcao or Podolski or a number of other excellent footballers who were in bad coaching situations and how that affected their play. Perhaps Adu has never had that type of coach.

      • This is his last shot before the Sunday Beer League so he better be motivated.

        I don’t think M in a 433 is his sweet spot, he doesn’t play D. Unless they are just going Eredivisie with it. Otherwise he’d be a 433 forward.

      • He’ll probably play on one of the wings to be honest. It’s where he was put in his last call-up to the Nats and he did fairly well.

      • A team needs 11 defenders, and will consider dropping to 10 when that other player is truly special (and usually the trade off still bites the team in the butt). Adu can be effective in attack phase, but isn’t truly special.

      • This point cannot be made too often. Being on the right team at the right time with the right coach is a lot harder than fans imagine. Europe is full of once promising players who just never found the right situation. Adu’s history seems unusual only in the US where we have not had many phenoms.

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