There is something to be said about coming full circle, as former teenage soccer prodigy Freddy Adu is about to find out.
Believe it or not, it’s been eight years since Adu signed his first professional soccer contract, so it seems almost like an anomaly that, when Freddy is introduced as the newest member of Major League Soccer’s (MLS) Philadelphia Union this Friday, he will do so at the tender age of 22.
Yes, eight professional contracts, some serious soul-searching and numerous helpings of humble pie later, the prodigy has matured, not only into a man, but also into the player that many thought he could be.
Over the last year or so, Freddy Adu has been given a new lease on his soccer life.
It started when former U.S. National team coach Bob Bradley added Adu to the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup roster. Freddy repaid the selection by coming off the the bench in the semifinal against Panama and helping set up Clint Dempsey’s winning goal.
Then, in the Gold Cup Final against Mexico on June 25, there were some who said he was the best player on the pitch, despite the national team's 4-2 loss.
Adu’s recent resurgence certainly had caught the attention of several European clubs, but it was believed that he would rejoin the MLS and sign with Chivas USA. Right league, wrong team, because tomorrow he will become Philadelphia Freddy and sign with the Philadelphia Union.
For me, this news is somewhat ironic. You see, recently a good buddy of mine Facebooked me, insisting that the Union needed to go out and get some much-needed offense. I guess the team's nine ties this season had sent him over the edge.
Adu’s signing will not only reunite him with Union head coach Piotr Nowak, who was head coach of D.C. United during Adu’s early MLS days, but will also help fill the void left by striker Carlos Ruiz, who was lost in transfer to Mexican side Veracruz.
Freddy’s addition should not only help lift the productivity of forwards Danny Mwanga and Sebastien Le Toux, but also help the Union in their current battle with the Columbus Crew for first place in the MLS’s Eastern Conference.
By the way, did I mention that Adu was only 22?