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May 23, 2011
Freddy Adu gets surprise call from U.S.

By Charles Cuttone
Executive Editor

Freddy Adu will get another chance with the U.S. National Team as it prepares for the upcoming CONCACF Gold Cup.
Freddy Adu will get another chance with the U.S. National Team as it prepares for the upcoming CONCACF Gold Cup.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
Bob Bradley’s selection of the U.S. National Team for the upcoming CONCACAF Gold Cup and friendly with Spain came with one huge surprise. Freddy Adu. Even Bradley admitted as much.

The former darling of Major League Soccer, Adu has spent the past season toiling for second division Turkish club Caykur Rizespor, on loan from Benfica, the Portuguese club that purchased him from MLS for $2 million in 2007.

“Freddy has fallen out of the scene a little bit,” said Bradley. “Typically, playing in the second division in Turkey doesn’t bring you back into the scene.”

That’s one of the things that makes Adu’s selection interesting. He’s been in Europe since 2007 when he left MLS, but after only 11 games in Benfica’s A team, he’s bounced around on loan to AS Monaco (France’s Ligue 1) , Belinenses (Portugal), Aris (Greece) and now Rizespor.

Bradley says he has watched Adu play in Turkey—not in person, but via computer -- and decided this might be a chance to give the player, who last saw action for the U.S. in the 2009 Gold Cup, another look-see.

“ It’s not like you can point to a play or a game or anything that’s really happened there, other than still the knowledge that he’s shown certain abilities in the past, even when decisions didn’t go his way. That didn’t mean that, in our minds, the story was over.”

Bradley pointed out that Adu has always shown a lot of promise, even if it was overhyped by MLS at a time when the league would do anything for some publicity, including signing a 15-year old who clearly was not ready, not only for the game on the field, but also the limelight off it. In nearly four years in the league, three with DC United and one with Real Salt Lake, Adu garnered a lot of media attention, often hailed as the second coming of Pele, but his talents often failed to live up to the hype.

“This is part of decisions for different rosters, for different tournaments,” said Bradley.” We never thought the story was over, but we will find out where it fits for right now. We think this is a good chance to kinda size it all up again, doesn’t mean that automatically it’s all there either. There’s still challenges for Freddy to show that the things he’s been able to do at times, at some of the youth levels, that they can now make a difference, whether it’s for the senior national team or for a top club. Those are still things that we all need to assess. It’s a gut feeling sometimes that this is a good time to size this guy up again.”

Bradley will have plenty of time to see what Adu can do. The team will begin gathering for training May 26 in Cary, N.C. The USA will begin Group C play on June 7 against Canada at Ford Field in Detroit at 8 p.m. ET. Group play continues June 11 against Panama at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., with kickoff slated for 8 p.m. ET. The group stage will end for the U.S. on June 14 against Guadeloupe at 8 p.m. CT at the newly christened LIVESTRONG Park in Kansas City, Kan.

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