Freddy Adu was ecstatic Saturday when he heard that his native country, Ghana, had qualified for its first World Cup after decades of disappointment.
But D.C. United's 16-year-old forward quickly dismissed the possibility of playing for the Black Stars in next summer's tournament in Germany.
"If they asked me, I would have to say no," Adu said. "I made up my mind to play for the United States some day and I'm sticking to it. I'm very happy, it makes me feel great that Ghana made it, but this is where I play now."
Adu was born in Ghana in 1989 and immigrated to the United States with his family eight years later, settling in Montgomery County. He became a U.S. citizen in 2003, which made him eligible to represent American teams in international soccer competition.
Adu played for the United States at the under-17 world championship in Finland in 2003 and the under-20 tournament in both '03 (United Arab Emirates) and '05 (the Netherlands).
However, Adu would be permitted to play for Ghana because he has dual citizenship, has yet to play for the U.S. senior national team and is under age 21. The move would have to be approved by FIFA, soccer's world governing body. If he were to commit to Ghana, he would no longer be eligible to play for the United States.
"It's definitely tempting because I want to be at this World Cup so bad," he said, "but I am going to stay with the United States."
Adu, a part-time starter for United in his second MLS season, is a long shot to make the U.S. roster next summer. Over the next several months, Coach Bruce Arena will use games and training camps to identify players to fill the final few available slots and complement his core of veterans.
This past summer, Arena included Adu on a preliminary roster list prior to the CONCACAF Gold Cup but did not select him. Adu is a more likely candidate to play for the United States at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
-- Steven Goff