Freddy Adu’s on his way to Real Salt Lake. Well done to all parties involved, because this came completely out of left field, which is a rarity thanks to the pervasiveness of the media these days.
With DC United not getting a ton for Freddy, it’s readily apparent he’s expected to go to Europe sooner rather than later. Adu, along with keeper Nick Rimando, was traded for future considerations (a portion of Adu’s transfer fee, no doubt), a major player allocation, backup keeper Jay Nolly, and a conditional draft pick. On face value, it doesn’t seem like a whole lot, and it isn’t. But it’s a trade that DC United wanted and needed to make, especially to please Adu, and it’s not surprising this is what they’ve gotten.
Still, with the trade having been made, you can expect Adu to stick around MLS for at least one more season. Which he probably would have anyway, considering he doesn’t turn 18 until June, but this cements it.
Having lived in DC when Adu was drafted, I was lucky enough to see his first few games, and continue to have a soft spot for DC United. And despite the best intentions of both sides, Adu in DC hasn’t quite worked out. It’s easy to blame Nowak, as Freddy doesn’t fit into his style and is up against more established players in his position, but Peter Nowak is Peter Nowak. You know everything he does is because he thinks it’s in the best interests of his team, and it's done his way. Unlike in DC, Real Salt Lake, which in Utah is absolutely crying out for a marketable player, will completely build around him. He will fortify the franchise on the field and off (new stadium, please). Not to mention that RSL’s coach was also Adu’s gaffer for the Under-17s.
Granted, I don’t have any dog in this fight save wanting to see the best for Freddy, so I’m pleased about this. This is pretty much the situation I wrote about earlier, with him furthering his development stateside and seeing as much first team action as possible before moving on. Now he’s in a situation where he’ll start every game. He’ll be the man, and he’ll have to adjust to having this weight on his shoulders. But, and no offense meant, it will be a ton less pressure simply because it’s MLS. It will give him more time to grow as a person and a player before being baptized by fire across the pond.
Good for Adu, good for RSL, good for MLS, and good for the US MNT. Whether or not it’s good for DC United depends on how they use the allocation and draft pick.