Freddy Adu: A Teenager Handling the Adult World With Poise



FREDDY ADU is mature far beyond his 14 years.

When he makes a spin move on the soccer field, he leaves opponents chomping on the turf, real or artificial.

Adu is also mature in the complicated world of New York news conferences. Yesterday he signed with Major League Soccer, graciously thanking his mother and everybody else who had helped him along the way.

“The 46-year-old commissioner needed notes, but the 14-year-old player did not,” announced Don Garber, the commissioner of the league.

Afterward, Adu was catching a bite to eat in a private room. Sitting next to him was his mother, Emelia, who brought him over from Ghana when he was 9 for the normal survivor reasons people seek out the United States.

His mother tells him what to do. For the foreseeable future, he will live at home in suburban Maryland, on her say-so. In return, as man of the house, he protects her.

Emelia Adu does not give interviews. That was the word yesterday after she discreetly slipped out of the crowded news conference. But when I was ushered into the private room to be introduced, I tried my luck with a question about her high standards for her son. She smiled politely, sweetly, but no words came out.

Freddy Adu, all 5 feet 8 inches and 140 pounds, stood up and intervened, turning the awkward moment into a joke.

“People ask her questions and she freezes,” he said, smiling at her, smiling at me, bringing us together in the glow of his presence. Every mother should have a son like this at her side, and vice versa.

Source: NY Times

New: ESPN FC’s Alejandro Moreno and Sebastian Salazar reflect on Freddy Adu’s soccer career and where it all went wrong. Ale recollects his time with LA Galaxy when the 14-year-old Adu made his debut with D.C. United in Major League Soccer. Ale talks about what could’ve been for Adu, who still hopes to continue playing, as well as why he struggled to make an impact in his 15-year career, and who is to blame for his failure to live up to the hype.