Sunday, July 8, 2007

Remember Freddy?

Dear Georgie,

I recently searched for the article, but I guess it's disappeared into wherever articles go after websites shut down.

It was in 2001 at the US Youth Soccer National Championships, still called the Snickers Cup back then. Lawrence, Ind., better known as Indianapolis, was the host. I was there, for my fifth straight summer, doing some articles.

As is the case at any of the USYS Nationals, there are some very good teams, and a whole lot of above-average players. Technically sound, tactically aware (for the most part), very obliging to their accented coach who has them robotically obeying the game plan -- two-touch, knock it wide, drop it back, possess it and lose it. Not that I'm being cynical or anything.

Anyway, I was walking around the complex, hung over and carrying the usual supplies in my pockets. Diet Coke, couple of pens, tape recorder, reporter's notebook. I had a really hard time distinguishing one team from another. They all looked the same. White kids with the same haircut, knocking the ball around, taking no chances, going nowhere, yet tackling really hard.

Then I saw a guy I knew from Eurosport. "Go over the Field 4," he told me. I asked why, and he said, "You'll see."

I did.

Field 4 was easy to find. It was the one with the crowd on the endline. That's a dead giveaway. Youth soccer crowds are always on the sideline opposite the benches. If there is a crowd behind the goal, something interesting is going on.

Sure enough. There was this kid. He was unreal.

He was playing for the Potomac Cougars U14 team, but he was born on June 2, 1989, which meant he just turned 12. Yeah, yeah, I know. The popular thing to do is talk about how Freddy is really 5 years older than he says. Haven't seen the proof of that, so he is what he says.

I wrote an article that night about him. It was called "His Name is Freddy." Best I can figure it was the first or second article written about Freddy Adu in the American media. Will Kuhns of Soccer America did one about the same time, but I'm not sure if it was before nationals or after.

Anyway, I guess it's gone now. Since then, I have watched his career with interest. And I've read and listened to people cut him down as overrated, washed up, whatever.

Then I watched him the other night with the U.S. U20s against Brazil.

Told you so!

You know who

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