The problem with being a child prodigy is trying to live up to everyone else’s expectations, a problem often compounded when the prodigy believes they too should be fulfilling those expectations.
I offer you exhibit A, as in Adu, Freddy Adu, the former teenage soccer phenom who once was one of the hottest prospects in world football after becoming one of the youngest athletes to sign a professional contract in the United States, after D.C. United selected him in the 2004 MLS Super Draft.
Since that signing six years ago, Freddy has been somewhat of an enigma, never quite producing the form expected of him. After two years and 11 goals in 87 appearances, D.C. traded Adu and goalkeeper Nick Rimando to Real Salt Lake in exchange for a major allocation, goalkeeper Jay Nolly, and future considerations.
Adu’s time with Real was short lived. Less than a year after arriving in Salt Lake, Adu opted out of his contract and booked passage to Portugal to negotiate with Portuguese Liga super club, Benfica.
In three seasons under Benfica , the club has loaned Adu out twice, once to A.C. Monaco for a year and again in 2009 to Belenenses (Portugal). Over the last three seasons, Adu has found the back of the net just four times in 24 appearances.
Recently, new Belenenses manager, Toni, told Adu his services were no longer needed and now Freddy has a decision to make.
According to the football grapevine, there are two clubs currently interested in Adu’s services; English side Hull City and Greek club Aris FC. If you read between the lines of Adu’s recent Twitter post, it sounds like Freddy is leaning toward Hull City.
twitter.com/FreddyAdu11 “hey guys I have some tough decisions to make. I have a pretty good idea what I want to do because it’s about playing time and my development”.
Aris FC has designs on teaming Adu with US international striker Eddie Johnson, on-loan from Fulham F.C. until the end of the season. Hull City manager Phil Brown meanwhile, has toyed with the idea of linking Freddy with fellow American Jozy Altidore, on-loan from Villarreal until the end of June.
Freddy’s ego is probably telling him he can help save Hull City from relegation. Playing in England’s Premier League could also help promote Freddy’s desires to play with the U.S. national team at this years World Cup in South Africa. Playing in Greece would probably not have the same desired effect.