Something I never really expected to see yesterday. "17-year old Freddy Adu traded to Real Salt Lake." The headline baffled me for a second because it caught me completly off guard. The time Adu has spent with a team he said he wouldn't leave unless it was to Europe, was never the greenest of pastures however when I thought about it more. In 87 games for the young phenom he tallied just 11 goals and 17 assists. Great, but not the Tiger Wood type of showing many experts thought we'd see by now.
You'd think winning the MLS Cup in your first year, and the League's Supporter's Shield this past season were a solid thing to have on a resume. It is but when there was constant trouble and disagreement between head coach Peter Nowak and young Adu over playing time and performance, you knew things weren't always right. What got me was the end of the season, in a playoff match were youth and speed was needed against New England, a team that was slowing down towards the latter stages of the game. Nowak pulled Adu from the game and gave no clear reason for it. You may play to win the game but at times like that it seemed like Nowak was just continuing what many feel as "keeping Freddy's full potential from showing".
I too believe Nowak is mostly to blame in this whole situation. Not D.C. or even the USSF for that matter. Freddy may be young but there is loads of star potential there. Nowak had his reasons the first season I can agree with. But the last two seasons, more importantly this past season, should have been a coming out party for the youngster. It was tough though to gain solid playing time or even play a desired position when the league's MVP, Christain Gomez, is running the center of the midfield. That I can understand, but what I don't get is the lack of playing time as a whole with Freddy. Sure he was a dangerous sub to begin his career, I loved that coaching style from Nowak but that wasn't enough to gain full exposure to the kid's talent.
The trade has been set and I got to say for the two sides it was pretty fair. Adu gets to play with a coach that will play him, start him and use him in the best of ways. RSL's head coach has coached Freddy before in the youth national team systems. That's how the whole deal broke down, Freddy really wanted out of DC and away from Nowak and he was willing to go to a place that no one expected him to go, Salt Lake.
The deal for Real is a risky one but it also could pay out very nicely. Sure Adu may jump ship to Europe in the summer's transfer window like he has said many times that he would. But, I could see him sticking around since he will be playing for a coach that he knows and enjoys playing for. If that happens, RSL will prove to be the real winners in this deal. Also, with Adu comes attraction to the team. More fans in the stands, better chance to finalize that stadium deal and possibly a better chance of getting on TV more.
The Freddy in Mormon Country is at least a six month experiment, that much we do know. I just hope that for now in that time frame we truly see what all the hype around this kid was really about.