Rowdies Ink Midfielder Freddy Adu

Adu adds another creative element to Tampa Bay's attack
Tampa Bay Rowdies Staff | Jul 14, 2015

The Tampa Bay Rowdies have bolstered their attack with the addition of dynamic, creative midfielder Freddy Adu, the club announced Tuesday, pending International Transfer Clearance.

The Rowdies and Adu are a perfect fit. Adu, now 26 years of age, with his prime playing career still ahead of him, presents plenty of upside for the Rowdies. In Tampa Bay, he is reunited with head coach Thomas Rongen, arguably the coach for whom he has played his best soccer in the past.

“We’re pleased to have Freddy Adu join our club,” principal owner Bill Edwards said. “Our goal is to make the Rowdies the most successful club in North American soccer and this is just another step towards achieving that. I’ve spoken to Thomas about signing Adu and he is as excited as I am about this opportunity.”

Adu captained Rongen’s U.S. Under-20 national team in the 2007 U-20 World Cup, in which he scored a hat trick against Poland and tallied two assists against Brazil. Adu’s signing adds another attack-minded player to the Rowdies’ roster. He played for U.S. national teams at the Under-17, Under-20, and Under-23 levels and made his debut for the senior national team in 2006 at the age of 16, making him the youngest player to ever represent the United States at the senior level.

“Freddy and I have always respected each other,” Rongen said. “He’s a very unique player, very gifted. He’s a difference-maker. He’s got superb technical ability and field awareness. He’s a guy that I’ve always enjoyed being around on and off the field. He’s got a wonderful sense of humor and is a good teammate. He can make any team better.”

Adu broke into the professional soccer world as a teenager when he was selected with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2004 MLS SuperDraft by D.C. United at the tender age of 14. He was the youngest player ever signed to a professional contract in American sports. After three years in D.C., Adu moved to Real Salt Lake and then on to Europe with Portuguese powerhouse SL Benfica, which sent him on a series of loans.

Adu returned to the United States in 2011 with Major League Soccer’s Philadelphia Union, where he scored seven goals in 35 matches. His form in Philadelphia saw him break back into the U.S. men’s national team for the 2011 Gold Cup. In that tournament, he appeared in the semifinals against Panama and in the final against Mexico.

Since then, Adu has played in Brazil, Serbia, and Finland before signing with the Rowdies.

“I’m someone he relates to and someone he feels comfortable with,” Rongen said. “I like daring, creative players and Freddy has those qualities. His signing has immense upside for a club that is already making its mark in the NASL.”

Adu is projected as an attacking midfielder with the Rowdies, though he’s certainly capable of playing as a forward anywhere on the front line of Rongen’s preferred 4-3-3 formation. 

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