Freddy Adu (born June 2, 1989) is a Ghanaian
native who has gained fame for his prodigious
Football (soccer)|soccer talents. At the age of
14, he signed a professional contract with the
D.C. United Major League Soccer (MLS) team on
November 18, 2003. Adu left Ghana with his family
in 1997, and is now a resident of Potomac,
Maryland in the United States and a U.S. citizen.
Adu learned to kick a ball at the age of two; soon
after he was hitting rocks and refreshment bottles
barefooted like many African soccer stars before
At age 13, Adu joined the Bradenton Academy, U.S.
Soccerâ��s full-time residency program, in January
2002. Some major UEFA|European teams, including
Manchester United, looked into the possiblity of
signing Adu but did not due to employment
legislation in Britain that states players cannot
join FA Premier league|English Premier League
teams professionally until they turn 17; before
this they are limited to very low paying
apprenticeship contracts. Adu's agent opted for a
contract in the United States, partially because
of the financial situation, but also because
joining MLS gave the young player the opportunity
to play professional soccer very near to his home
in Potomac, Maryland.
Adu played for the United States men's national
soccer team|United States in two tournaments in
2003, the Football U-17 World Championship|World
Under-17 Championship in Finland and the Football
World Youth Championship|World Youth Championship
in the United Arab Emirates.
In order to allow Adu to play close to home, MLS
assigned him to D.C. United, on November 18, 2003,
working a deal with the F.C. Dallas|Dallas Burn
who owned the top pick in the 2004 MLS SuperDraft.
Dallas was compensated with a player allocation.
Having already signed with D.C. United, Adu
effectively became the first player selected, in
that draft, two months before it officially took
On April 3, Adu came on in United's first game of
the 2004 season against the San Jose Earthquakes
as a second-half substitute, making him the
youngest professional sportsman in United States
professional sports history since
fourteen-year-old Frederick Joseph Chapman|Fred
Chapman played Major League Baseball in
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania|Philadelphia in 1887.
On April 17, he scored his first professional goal
in the 75th minute of a 3-2 away loss against the
With United, Adu joins the other young soccer
signees Bobby Convey (in 2000 at 16 was the
youngest player ever signed by MLS and did see
action in his first seasons) and Santino Quaranta
(in 2001 at 16 years, four months of age, Santino
Quaranta became the youngest player drafted by MLS
prior to Adu).
In his first season as a professional, Adu showed
a great deal of potential, pouted about playing
time, and finished the year with five goals and
three assists, while playing in all 30 regular
season games. Although briefly a starter, Adu was
relegated to a substitute when D.C. United
acquired central midfielder Christian GÃ³mez
midseason, and it was in this role that he
appeared in United's MLS Cup victory. He played in
three of D.C.'s four playoff games, coming off the
bench each time; he tallied one assist in the
Despite his success, Adu was criticized from a
number of different angles in his first season as
a professional. Some soccer commentators have
suggested that Adu is too young to be playing
professionally, and that he needs more time to
develop mentally amongst players his own age.
Others have suggested that Adu is in fact playing
against players his own age, and that his Ghanian
birth certificate was doctored; no evidence has
been found to support this conclusion, however.
One person who has little doubt about Adu's
abilities is United States men's national team
coach Bruce Arena. "He's a very graceful
athlete," said Arena. "His first touch and his
vision are outstanding for a player of his age."
Adu is an admirer of Argentina's Diego Maradona.
Adu is currently dating singer JoJo.