Friday, February 15, 2008

Adu Being Nurtured at Benfica

Freddy Adu seems surprised that European clubs know how nurture young players and forbid their future stars from setting themselves up for failure as Adu did with his mega-deal from Nike and MLS.

Culturally, U.S. coaches just aren’t mature enough to develop young players with true football skill. Adu’s career, in fact, may have been retarded by his time with D.C. United and Real Salt Lake before Benfica came a calling.

Adu, however, hasn’t done himself any favors. He never played particularly well in MLS--a boy against men for much of his time in the league--and seemed to save his best for the U.S. junior national teams. It was his performance in the under-20 World Cup that caught Benfica’s eye.

With the Lisbon club, Adu has contributed goals in some key spots, despite not yet earning a regular spot. Ultimately, Adu may never be the super-stud U.S. Soccer built him up to be. And that’s not fair to him. But he has done enough to pull on the jersey of one of the most storied clubs in football history, and that’s not bad for a kid.

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