Fifteen years ago, Freddy Adu was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated, lauded as a sports prodigy and the future of professional soccer in the United States.
Fourteen years ago, Adu, was selected first overall in the 2004 MLS draft by D.C. United at age 14, making him the youngest ever American professional athlete.
On Friday, Adu, who has been out of pro soccer for over a year (last appearing for the Tampa Bay Rowdies of the second-tier United Soccer League), announced plans for a comeback.
Adu, who was born in Ghana and immigrated with his family to the U.S. before settling in Rockville, Md., has been all over the place since leaving MLS in 2007 after three seasons with United and one with Real Salt Lake. He played in Portugal, France, Turkey, Luxembourg, Brazil, Serbia and Finland between 2007 and 2015, with a stint in Philadelphia as a member of MLS’s Union over parts of three seasons mixed in. He joined the Rowdies in 2015 and made 12 appearances for them over the course of the 2015 and 2016 seasons, then went through a trial with the Portland Timbers of MLS before the 2017 season, but was not offered a contract.
Last August, it appeared that Adu would hook on with Polish first division club Sandecja Nowy Sacz, but that never panned out after its coach called the potential signing “a joke.”
Adu, 28, also made 17 appearances for the U.S. men’s national team between 2006 and 2011, but never made a World Cup roster.
It was only a couple of months ago when Adu, appearing at a send-off event for RFK Stadium, expressed his interest in playing professionally again, saying “Hopefully, I will get the opportunity and make the most of it.”
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