July 25, 2014
MY TWO CENTS
What is it worth to you, Freddy?
Even though Freddy Adu signed with Serbian club FK Jagodina this week, fan Sean Davidson Johnson still wants the former teen phenom to return home.
"The opinions reflected in the My Two Cents columns do not express the views of the editors or management of BigAppleSoccer. com"
By Sean David Johnson
Special to BigAppleSoccer.com
Thereís something that Freddy Adu should know: U.S. fans are on his side.
I wonder, what is that worth to him?
I remember in the early 2000ís when Big Soccer was abuzz with rumors of the next great U.S. soccer player after Landon Donovan. The rollout of Freddy Adu to the U.S. soccer community was bathed in furious excitement.
There were rumors about that his technical ability on the ball and flare were unmatched in U.S. youth soccer. Combine that with Adu's infectious smile and soft features, which conjured images of the great Pele, and the crazy bus left gleefully from the station.
Back in 2003, Adu was signed to a $1 milion Nike contract, the top paid player in the league - earning $500k per year from Major League Soccer, and featured in commercials with an aging Pele.
Aduís first few seasons in MLS, though not exactly overwhelming, demonstrated many highlight reel moments as he toyed with veteran players with his dribbling, through balls and crossing. When Adu wasnít immediately injected into a starting role, fans were incredulous with D.c. United coach Peter Nowak. Fans viewed Nowak as impeding the development of this promising young talent.
In the beginning, U.S. fans were on Aduís side.
Fast forward 10 years and the most mystifying thing isnít that he didnít become the next Pele. That, in and of itself, is completely understandable. What boggles the mind is how his career took his so far from being in the same realm as Pele that itís not funny.
In his first three seasons in MLS, from 2004-2006, Adu amassed a respectable 87 appearances for United as a teenager.
In the eight years since, Adu has appeared in a mere 91 first-team games for eight clubs from the U.S. to Portugal, France, Greece, Turkey, and Brazil. He has failed to earn an integral, long-term role at a club since his time in MLS. And, it seems that it is only in MLS that he earned a consistent role.
But, even now, as Adu is released from club after club, US fans are on his side. One look at the comments section of any article about Freddy Adu and you, overwhelmingly, see fans asking Freddy to come back to the U.S.
Fans, admittedly, donít know the whole story. Is Freddy still demanding more money than he has earned? Is there a locker room problem? Does he lack a work ethic? These questions lead fans to speculate and, as such, comments sections are also littered with points of view about ďlower your salary demandsĒ or ďput your head down, win a starting spot, and have a career before itís too late.Ē
Whether these have merit or not, itís hard to know.
But, what is irrefutable is that U.S. fans WANT to see Freddy Adu succeed. We care about Freddy Adu. We donít care whether or not heís starting on a team in the North American Soccer League or in MLS. We donít care whether he has to start as a sub and work his way into the starting lineup. We just want to see Freddy succeed.
We believe in Freddy Adu. We believe in him - just like we believed in him in the beginning - only now our expectations are more considerate and realistic.
So, I now turn my attention directly to Freddy.
Come and earn $100k per year, which just about anybody in traditional work forces would be thrilled to earn, put your head down, do the work, learn from the players around you, and earn your starting role whether it be in the NASL (which would be tremendous for that league) or in MLS.
Maybe in time, you will start to see commercial endorsements again. Maybe, in time, you will prove yourself and earn more than an average wage.
Freddy, where else in the world will you find millions of soccer fans who are pulling for you, asking for you to come and play, and believe that you have the ability to become a solid - if not famous or sport-transforming - soccer player?
What is THAT worth to you?
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