Football picks & Sports picksJune 18, 2007

Adieu, Adu?

Just four short years ago the entire sports world was abuzz with the story of 14-year-old soccer phenom Freddy Adu. He was heralded as the greatest soccer sensation since Pele and the hope of US soccer rested on his school boy shoulders. There was so much potential from such a young lad, so much in fact that the D.C. United of Major League Soccer (MLS) made Adu the No.1 pick of the 2003 MLS draft.

After well-publicized clashes between the young superstar and his coach Adu was traded to Real Salt Lake where he was promptly forgotten. The goals declined and the sports world moved on to the next young phenom story at the time I believe it was the emergence of Michelle Wie, but what of Adu? 

Well, Adu turned 18-years-old on June 2, and he will make his dream of playing in Europe where soccer – ahem, football really matters come true. There is a rule in European soccer that prohibits players under the age of 18 playing in the world’s most prestigious soccer leagues, so Adu toiled under relative obscurity in the US where football is king, a sport that Adu ranks as sixth (at best) on the list of importance.  It seems that his entire career has been mishandled in the US, as we were so quick to label him the savior of US soccer before losing interest and instead turning our attention to Brit David Beckham as the new savior of US soccer. Buy why is a Brit the savior of US soccer? It seemed like we had a perfectly legitimate player and story right here with Adu.

The fact probably was within Adu’s lack of ability to put “asses in seats,” rather than his ability to put balls in goals. The US is far more concerned with Beckham, his former Spice Girl wife Victoria a.k.a. Posh Spice and their budding reality-TV careers. So what happens to Adu?  Being buried in the MLS has actually hurt his chances of going to play for a European franchise and earning the top soccer money and adoring fans this young man deserves. His hopes now rest on his upcoming performance in the Under 20 World Cup later this summer in Canada to renew international interest in this soccer prodigy.The MLS treatment and lack of acceptance by US fans only shows just how far off the map soccer is in this country. Adu will be better served by traveling abroad because all he wants to do is play.  As for his counterpart, Beckham wants to be a movie star in the US and his deal with the L.A. Galaxy couldn’t have less to do with soccer than the Spice girls have to do with talent.

Well, enough about soccer. It’s nearly July which means that U.S. Pro Football is right around the corner. We’ll have NFL preseason picks starting in early August.