Magazine article Newsweek

A Strong Kick for American Soccer: Only 13, FREDDY ADU Could Become America's First Breakthrough Star

Magazine article Newsweek

A Strong Kick for American Soccer: Only 13, FREDDY ADU Could Become America's First Breakthrough Star

Article excerpt

Byline: Mark Starr

There was something of a legend growing around the boy--across the United States, it seemed anyone interested in youth soccer had heard of a preteen phenom named Freddy Adu. Even before the 12-year-old led his Maryland team to a national youth championship in 2001, tales of Freddy had intrigued John Ellinger, coach of America's Under-17 squad. So he invited the youngster for a weekend tourney to showcase his talents amid the older lads. Still, the coach wasn't remotely prepared for such a dazzling performance. On one play, running at full speed, the kid fielded a pass on the outside of his left foot, flicked it up and over his head--and over the defender--and corralled the ball without breaking stride. "I couldn't believe my eyes... and then he goes and does it again, this time with the other foot," says Ellinger. "When I asked him, 'Do you realize the things you're doing out there?' he shook his head. All I could think was, 'Good Lord, son'."

The kid with the magic feet could be the face of America's soccer future. Now 13, he is the youngest member--by two years--of that U-17 team, which trains year-round in Bradenton, Fla. Adu has been leaving opponents breathless and coaches speechless since arriving in this country, at 8, from Ghana. U.S. soccer brass fret about the pressure of high expectations, but they can't contain their glee over the young scoring marvel. He's blessed with breakneck speed, amazing acceleration, the field vision of an NFL quarterback and deceptive strength for a 5-foot-7, 140-pounder. And he possesses that critical ability to keep the ball on his foot, even under intense pressure, as if it were dangling from a string. "I see him do things I haven't seen the pros do," says Ellinger.

For his part, Adu says, he tries not "to get caught up in all that stuff. I just want to go out, play my game and have fun. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.