The Philadelphia Union introduced their newest signing this afternoon, former Benfica and current USMNT member Freddy Adu. The club acquired Adu on a free transfer from the Portugese club and noted that he will not count as a “designated player.” The move re-unites the former phenom with coach Peter Nowak, who was the head man at DC United when Freddy made his professional debut. Their relationship at the time was not ideal and Adu often butted heads with him over playing time. Speaking to the media this afternoon, Freddy says he learned a lot from his time under Nowak, even if he didn’t realize it at the time.
“You really appreciate who the real people are in your life, who really care about you and want you to succeed,” Adu said. “I didn’t see it that way when I first came into the league. I thought Peter was just on me all the time. He was trying to make me better and I saw that when I went to Europe. When you realize that, you appreciate everything he tried to do.”
It’s worth noting that when he made his debut with DC United, Adu was just 14 years old.
“It’s difficult being young and a little bit immature,” Nowak said. “You don’t realize the big picture in life. Right now, he has shown great commitment in coming back and finding out what is important in his life. I welcome him back with open arms. We know each other very well and over time, after DC United, we felt closer to each other and under each other more and more.”
To say a 14 year old was “a little immature” and didn’t realize the big picture would be understating it… Even now, when people see him as a veteran he’s still only 22. As for where he fits into the Union setup? The remains to be seen. He’s chiefly an attacking midfielder, but could play on the wing or at forward.
“I’m here to help the team, whether it’s at forward, midfield or wherever, even on the bench." Adu said, "I’ve learned a lot from the last few years and you have to be ready to go anywhere on the field. Wherever they feel is best to help the team, so be it.”
Nowak would only say that Adu’s position was “in the starting 11.”