I was dubbed the next Pele aged 14 and was tipped to become world superstar… now 20 years on I'm without a club | The Sun

FREDDY ADU was once the most famous wonderkid in the world but he is now on the search for a new club.

The American drew comparisons to Pele at just 14 years old after he was signed by DC United in the MLS Draft.

Fast forward 20 years and Adu, 33, is desperate to get back into the game after leaving Swedish side Osterlen FF in 2021.

Adu is aiming to get as fit as he can ahead of upcoming trials this summer, where he hopes to win a contract.

Speaking to NJ.Bet, Adu revealed his plan saying: "I know that I must get fit and haven’t played for a while so I would have to go in and do trials, which will need me to be super fit.

"I’m at the point where I’m prepared to do that and so it will be this summer, and hopefully it goes according to plan, that there are some doors that open and I can have the opportunity to get back to playing.


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"I don’t know what opportunities will come, but I must be ready for any opportunity that comes. I’m not going to say I’m too good for anyone.

"I just want to get back to playing the game that I love and miss. I miss the atmosphere, I miss the locker room, I miss training every day in the morning, being around the guys – I miss it all."

In 2004 Adu became the youngest player to appear in a professional sport, making his debut for DC United aged just 14.

Two weeks later he scored his first professional goal against New Jersey MetroStars, who later became the New York Red Bulls.

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That prompted Nike to snap Adu up on a $1million (£730,000) sponsorship deal, while ESPN said he was a better sporting prospect than LeBron James.

Even Brazilian legend Pele compared the prodigy to Mozart for displaying such an incredible ability at such a young age.

Reflecting on that period, Adu said: "I got so lucky. My family was poor and could not afford for me to play for a club team, but I got lucky because I was given a scholarship by the Potomac Cougars who saw me play.

"The coach saw me play and thought I was really talented and wanted me on the team, so he gave me a scholarship to play for the team. Every single parent on that team paid a little extra out of their own pocket for me to be able to play on that team. Unbelievable.

"I didn’t even know about that until I was a few years into my professional career is. I’m so beyond grateful for doing that, because they didn’t have to do that.

"They all saw something in me and thought that I could go far in the game, so they did that. Not everyone does that, but I’m so grateful for it."

However, Adu's career soon became a disappointment – with the pressure of being America's great hope too much and expectation becoming a burden, though he did win 17 caps for the USMNT.

After a failed trial at Manchester United, spells in Portugal with Benfica and Monte Carlo with Monaco, Adu ended up back in his homeland trying to pick up the pieces of a life that should have been.

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