Plenty of reasons for Adu’s anger

first_imgFreddy Adu isn’t happy. And who can blame the young man? It wasn’t supposed to be like this. Adu’s career was supposed to take off from the first time he stepped on the pitch. Looking back, it’s fairly appropriate how his debut with D.C. United turned out almost two years ago.Adu sat the bench, watching for 61 minutes before finally crossing the touchline. He came in and showed some potential.Somehow, Adu can’t seem to grow out of that role — trying to impress the world in limited minutes. Not that his first two seasons of professional soccer have been anything to snicker at. Adu has started 30 of 55 matches thus far, scoring nine goals and adding nine assists. Not bad for a kid who just turned 16 this summer.But, in Adu’s case, he wants more. And, quite frankly, he deserves it. Adu recently complained to the Washington press about his playing time — or what has been, at times, a lack thereof.Not surprisingly, United coach Peter Nowak wasn’t too happy. But, then again, what is an MLS coach going to say? At this point in the year, Nowak is busy trying to win his side another league title. But here’s the key point in this spat — in the interest of American soccer, that doesn’t even matter. Adu’s interests come slightly before Nowak and his band of journeymen.When Adu joined United, the club had the potential to transform itself into the face of the future of American soccer. And even by winning last season’s MLS Cup, it has absolutely failed to do so.Maybe United’s patient approach to Adu last season was a positive. After all, this was his first season playing against professionals, men who were generally more than 10 years his seniors. But at some point, if Adu is to develop into the star most believe he will become, this year was the time to take the training wheels off. And mixing spot starts with substitute appearances just doesn’t accomplish that.It’s hard to fault Nowak — he is looking out for the present of his team — but in this case, he’s not serving American soccer’s best interests. Freddy Adu simply needs to be playing on a consistent basis if he is to develop into the type of player that can bring the game to the next level in the United States. Let’s face it: players like Landon Donovan, Claudio Reyna and Eddie Johnson are outstanding talents. But they do not have the star power to elevate soccer in the American public’s eyes to new heights. Adu has the package to do just that, with a compelling background story and a charming personality to go along with seemingly unlimited talent.If Adu wanted to sit the bench, he could have gone across the Atlantic to develop in the youth systems of prestigious teams like Inter Milan or Manchester United. But he didn’t. Adu has tried to do the right thing by playing in the MLS. It was thought that Adu could develop into a more seasoned and effective player while elevating the league’s quality and popularity at the same time. That really hasn’t happened.And isn’t that the point of MLS? Hasn’t a major goal of the league always been to develop young American talent? The answer is yes, or at least that’s what the league has always said. Nowak has missed that point this season.MLS is light years away from being able to retain stars like DaMarcus Beasley or attract the caliber of international talent necessary to make it a viable option for those stars. The function the league must serve for now is providing a place for the country’s next of standouts to grow and flourish before they leave for the bright lights of Europe.And, to be quite frank, fans of American soccer and the future of the sport in this country don’t really care about Jaime Moreno’s 16 goals and MVP season for United. Those who have the best interest of the beautiful game in mind don’t care about United maybe picking up a few extra points throughout the season by using veterans over their young starlet.They care about the future of the game in the United States. And Adu is a huge part of that future.last_img

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