December 30, 2002

Will the next Pele be ... American?: Ghanaian immigrant Freddy Adu is only 13 but is being touted as "America's breakthrough star" by Newsweek. "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." And while he's yet to receive his citizenship (due in the new year), "(h)e is in an accelerated program to graduate from high school at 15, when he will likely become the youngest player in Major League Soccer history." Anyone seen this guy play?

posted by worldcup2002 to soccer at 11:32 AM - 10 comments

Oh please. Sports are littered with "the next big thing". 13 is far too young to tell if someone is even going to make it as a professional, let alone be the "next Pele". Look at past rosters for international U-17 squads. Even at that age, most of them never make it.

posted by salmacis at 12:51 PM on December 30, 2002

He passed up $750,000 from Inter Milan to go overseas (about halfway down the page). Good for him.

posted by Samsonov14 at 12:54 PM on December 30, 2002

If a kid is FAR beyond the skill level of his peers, reports like this sometimes do pan out. Gretzky and Woods are the prime examples of this. Another kid that got a LOT of hype when he was younger was Prince Fielder (Cecil Fielder's son). He was smacking baseballs for home runs in major league parks during batting practice when he was only 13 years old. He's in the minor leagues now and is still showing the promise of before.

posted by grum@work at 01:00 PM on December 30, 2002

I haven't seen him play...does anyone know where we CAN see him play? A vid clip possibly? By the way, what is "corralled the ball"?

posted by StarFucker at 02:01 PM on December 30, 2002

Another awkward Americanism for what real footballers would call "controlling" or "trapping" the ball.

posted by worldcup2002 at 02:09 PM on December 30, 2002

I think it means in, he shot a cracking volley into the upper right corner...

posted by StarFucker at 02:11 PM on December 30, 2002

I think it means "control." See corral "3. To take control or possession of." (The rest is about livestock and wagons, as in "O.K. Corral")

posted by worldcup2002 at 03:06 PM on December 30, 2002

So no one knows where to see film of this guy?

posted by StarFucker at 08:23 AM on December 31, 2002

All I know is that I've been hearing about him on for months. His name in a thread almost has a Godwin's law-like effect on it--the thread quickly devolves to jokes.

posted by trox at 09:22 AM on December 31, 2002

I googled Freddy and got some impressive stuff. No video, but some vivid descriptions of his talents: "First, he does not dribble the ball. He dances with it ... on it ... and around it. But never for show, always with a purpose. Freddy is one of those players that starts a run at midfield near the right sideline and finishes it by the left goalpost. He beats three, four, five, maybe six players along the way. Freddy is a finisher, as well. He is one of those players that has that killer instinct in the box, burying loose balls that others seem to study first." Washington Post: "In games with his club team, Adu is inevitably the fastest player, with the best head and foot skills. He can beat a handful of defenders in one run, dropping them to the ground with twists and stops. He can emerge from a sprint, pull the ball behind him and loft a beautiful 30-foot, left-footed pass directly on a teammate's head. He can dash at full speed with the ball yet it is never far enough ahead for an opponent to steal it." If he keeps his head, and his mother, about him, he'll have a bright future (WashPost article again): "'Both of my sons are doing so well with school and with soccer,' said Emelia Adu, whose sons have been moved up a grade at The Heights because of their academic prowess. 'That's why I work two jobs, for them. We need money, but I don't want to rush Freddy. He's just a kid. I will not sell my son. He's still just a boy.' I look forward to seeing him in 4 or 5 years.

posted by worldcup2002 at 04:57 PM on January 03, 2003

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