12 December 2006

Three Years of Adu at DC United: An Evaluation

It's interesting, but I think among many DCU fans, including myself and some others, a predominant feeling is one of relief today. For three years Freddy Adu has thrown a spotlight on United. Typically evaluations were made on the basis of "what's the best for Freddy?", "What's the best thing for MLS?" or "What's the best for the US National Team?" rather than "What is the best for DC United?" It made sense for people, especially those that are not particularly attached to this team, to think that way. To some degree, DC United found itself attempting to placate these people, even though there was no reason why these goals would necessarily align with DC United's fundamental goal: Win championships.

Now after three years of Freddy, what can we say to these people? First, while DC United acknowledged these demands, we maintained a focus on our team first. That was good. At times, we accomodated Freddy (to the detriment perhaps of our fortunes) and at times Freddy was held back (to the detriment of Freddy, and perhaps US Soccer). It was a balancing act, a compromise. It wasn't always pretty. But for three years we did it.

As for Freddy's growth, I think the best that can be said is that he's a better player now than when he came in. Is he as good as he could be? I doubt it. But we didn't ruin him. He's not a burnt-out has-been at the age of 17. He got better in all aspects of his game. It may have been possible that another coach and team could have gotten him even farther. In fact, I feel like it is likely. But I also feel like other situations may have ruined him, destroyed his confidence and ability, and sent him into permanent mediocrity. After three years, the glee may have subsided but the potential remains. If we were grading DC's performance on handling and developing Adu alone, I'd give DC a B-. If we grade DC on the act of balancing Freddy's development with the needs of the team, I'd say we're in B+/A- territory.

The tension of Freddy is now one RSL will deal with, even if they don't think of it that way. Fine. We didn't ruin him, we made him better, and now we wish him well. I'm relieved. So, I imagine, is Freddy.

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6 Comments:

At 12 December, 2006 15:30, Anonymous Dave Lifton said...

While I agree with your post, how was holding Freddy back a detriment to him? It could be argued that holding him back was a large part of his mental development, and is thus a positive, even if he didn't always deal with it positively.

 
At 12 December, 2006 17:02, Blogger Oscar M. said...

the more important question - does Jaime get #9 back? Are #99 Moreno jerseys from the Adu era valuable or junk?

 
At 12 December, 2006 20:40, Anonymous Matt said...

Trading Freddy at this point is a great move for the long term.

It may not be a good move short term when we consider that he would have helped in international play. (unless we sign someone who produces in his spot..then it's a wash)

The only risk in giving him up is that he becomes a superstar in the next two years...and only then if he actually stays in the MLS.

As a current MLS player he is not worth the salary that DC is due to pay him. I never saw him produce on the level of a truly elite player.

He at times was more of a detriment to the team than a bonus.

I am not slamming Freddy, and I hope that he continues to progress and becomes a superstar.

My main focus is DC United, and when one considers the body of Adu's work while at DC....I don't see this as a big loss.

He is a good MLS player. He probably won't become a great MLS player because by the time he grows to that level he will be playing elsewhere.

So....what did DC lose other than a good player, a large salary and a player that was a times a distraction (mostly through no fault of his own)???

I really wish Freddy luck, it's probably a good move for him and DC United.

Nowak's patience had worn thin and Freddy has tuned him out.

 
At 12 December, 2006 20:42, Anonymous Matt said...

PS: I hope this means that we can keep Carroll and give Boswell the money he deserves. I'd even like to see Donnet resigned at a good price.

Marioni from Toluca?? Yes I know he's old...but he can finish EVERTHING!!!

 
At 13 December, 2006 16:34, Anonymous Dave Lifton said...

Oscar. We won a Cup with Jaime wearing #99. Those jerseys are valuable. It's the 2002 jersey that is cursed.

Matt, Freddy was worth his salary solely because the league more than made back their investment on him through increases in tickets, exposure and sponsorship. Sad as it may be, that is the current state of athletics.

 
At 16 January, 2007 16:30, Anonymous Noel said...

My 7 year old daughter said it best: "I'm sorry he won't be playing for DC anymore, but at least those girls behind us won't be screaming all the time." That seems to pretty well capture the Freddy Adu enigma.

 

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