What a difference 7+ months makes.
Real Salt Lake’s (then-) coach, John Ellinger, on December 11, 2006, after his team acquired midfielder Freddy Adu from DC United:
“We know for certain he’s here for the entire 2007 season.”
Real Salt Lake’s (then-) general manager, my man Steve Pastorino, that same day:
“While it’s not absolute, solid-bound certain that he’ll be here, we have some assurances and expectations that he’ll be here for the entire 2007 season, and we have reason to believe he’ll be here in 2008, as well.”
Well, so much for that. MLS has sold the youngster to Portuguese side Benfica, and he’s agreed to contract terms, so he’s outta here, less than two months after his 18th birthday. Most parents would love to get their kid out of the house so soon after they turn 18.
So ends an interesting but ultimately unsatisfying chapter in American soccer history. Adu was a decent young player, but MLS got its money’s worth out of him long before his sell-by date. He’d gone from being The Next Big Thing to A Nice Little Player. Now he’s in Europe, where he’s wanted to be all along.
Good luck, Freddy. Just be careful what you wish for.