After two years of inactivity, Freddy Adu was recently given another chance to be a professional soccer player in Sweden’s third division.
That chance has apparently come to a premature end, leaving the continuation of Adu’s playing career in serious doubt.
Osterlen FF revealed on Tuesday that it plans to terminate Adu’s contract just four months after announcing it had signed him and one month after he joined the team to begin training. According to club vice chairman Filip Lidgren, in comments supported by Osterlen manager Agim Sopi, Adu simply hadn’t shown enough during his time in Sweden to warrant continuing with the deal.
“We made the decision last Saturday,” Lidgren told Swedish outlet Ystads Allehanda. “We had an agreement with him that he would have the chance to show himself, but from what we have seen we have a hard time seeing that he will be able to compete. He has a lot of football in him, but the physical and the mental are missing.
“He was clearly disappointed. He is a really nice guy in every way, and I am convinced he would have been a great player, but he lacks the physicality required. We were actually a little surprised at how unprepared he was when he came here.”
Conversely, the 31-year-old Adu has cited internal conflict at Osterlen as the reason why the Swedish side is looking to show him the door.
“There is some kind of power struggle going on in the club,” Adu told Swedish outlet Sportbladet in a written statement. “The coach (Agim Sopi) says that I was released without his approval, which he does not like. I have been in a similar situation before and it never ends happily. It is better to deal with it immediately.
Osterlen manager Agim Sopi made it clear he wasn’t impressed with Adu during his time at the club.
“He got the chance, an opportunity to show himself,” Sopi told Swedish outlet Fotbollskanalen. “He has been clear that he wants to resume his career after a long absence. We contacted him two months before New Year and he has had a very long time to prepare and get in a fair condition. He has said that he wants to resume his career and then I think you want to show yourself from your best side, but he was totally untrained when he came here. His physical status was zero.
“We gave him a chance a month or so to see,” Sopi said. “But when you are away for so long. He has barely trained with us. He has had defects all along and I do not see that he has the mental strength required to recover.
“I have to take care of it professionally. I have to be honest with him, with myself and tell him how it is,” Sopi said. “It was not good. We gave him a half last in a training match and what he achieved is at division 5 level. I can not have players who are in a 24-man squad and who give everything and then have a player who is only here for his name. I have been honest with him about what I think and what I have seen. He will not be part of my squad this year.
“Division one is not a simple series. It’s a tough series and you have to have mental strength to handle it,” Sopi added. “I do not see that he has the mental strength to come back simply or who can help the club or the team.”
Adu had signed with Osterlen last October after not playing professionally since 2018. His last stint saw him spend one season with USL side Las Vegas Lights, and finished that campaign with one goal in eights starts and 14 appearances.
The former U.S. Men’s National Team player had served as a youth soccer coach in Maryland during much of the two years that followed, and also had lower back issues corrected in that time. Osterlen then came knocking with the new opportunity that could have revived his career, but it looks set to end prematurely and without him getting any meaningful playing time.