Adu gets another opportunity with Team USA

May 24, 2011|By Kevin Baxter, Tribune Newspapers

Freddy Adu, a one-time child star from Montgomery County who flamed out almost as quickly as he ascended to top of the U.S. soccer scene, is getting another second chance.

Adu, an attacking midfielder, was one of 23 players named Monday to the U.S. national team for next month's friendly with World Cup champion Spain, followed by the 12-nation CONCACAF Gold Cup.

"He's a player that certainly we all know at different times has shown some soccer abilities that are special," U.S. coach Bob Bradley said. "He hasn't always been able to make them count in different situations at different levels."

Indeed, Adu has often been his own worst enemy. Although his talent and potential were never doubted, his attitude and work ethic have repeatedly been called into question since he made his professional debut for D.C. United as a 14-year-old in 2004. He was last called up to the national team as a reserve for the 2009 Gold Cup.

But Adu impressed Bradley and his coaching staff with his willingness to play for a second-division team in Turkey this year in an attempt to rediscover his game.

"It's important to say that it's not that we've seen anything specific playing for this new club that shows how he's made progress or how he's improved," Bradley said. "It's a package of things. We respect the fact that he made this move to go to a smaller club because he had to show people he was willing to do whatever to keep going."

The choice of Adu was the biggest surprise among Bradley's selections. And he might have been one of the last of those selections as well. U.S. Soccer postponed the scheduled announcement of the roster by five hours Monday as Bradley agonized over his final picks. And while the coach declined to say much about that process, he conceded that his staff was studying film of Adu on Monday morning.

Adu, who turns 22 next week, was among several players with area ties on the roster. He joined former Maryland midfielders Maurice Edu and Robbie Rogers, defender Oguchi Onyewu (Olney) and ex-United goalkeeper Nick Rimando.

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