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Freddy Adu

Freddy Adu and Aris: One Last Chance at Glory?


Published reports out of Europe and the United States today indicate that Freddy Adu is headed to Aris Salonika FC, the leading club in Greece’s second largest city, Thessaloniki. (Although currently PAOK is performing better than Aris in the Greek Super League)

Once again, Adu has managed to find himself transferred to a well supported club with a history of making European continental competitions. Much like Adu’s moves to Benfica and Monaco, Aris is a well respected club that has taken a chance on the American youngster.

But questions continue to linger about Adu’s overall quality. While his technical skill has been very good from a young age, his work rate and ability to integrate into a squad has been almost always limited. Some question Adu’s willingness to listen to his coaches, and others insist he is too small and not physical enough to cope at a high level of club football.

Despite these criticisms, Adu’s play for the USMNT has not been as universally poor as some skeptics like to claim. For example, in three matches against high caliber opposition (England in 2008, Spain in 2008 and Costa Rica in 2009) Adu’s time on the pitch showed him have a great impact on the pace of the match and show qualities no other US player on the pitch in those games possessed. But those moments have been far and few between, and the player’s overall attitude seems to be questionable.

Adu’s maturity can also be called into question with his almost routine Twitter outbursts. Like his youth national team-mate Jozy Altidore, Adu uses Twitter as a place to vent frustrations about his coaches and playing situation.

SEE ALSO — Read the latest MLS news and opinion.

Aris is a good move for Adu if he is really as talented as some of us believe he is. But another big failure at a well supported European club in a decent league would spell the end of his ambition to be a relevant national team or European club player.

Freddy is out of chances after this one. Aris has taken him according to reports on a one and a half year loan from Benfica, so he will no doubt have an opportunity to work his way into the squad on a long term basis. Aris has a cosmopolitan blend of international players whose talents should compliment what we believe to be Adu’s strengths.

Additionally, Eddie Johnson’s loan move to Aris should smooth over any rough spots for Adu as far as comfort level. The Greek Super League has previously seen a number of CONCACAF players far well, such as Nery Castillo and the late Antonio De Nigris.

I still believe Freddy Adu is a phenomenal talent, one whose qualities were largely unappreciated by American coaches at all levels. But even I, one of his greatest supporters believe another failure at a respectable European club could spell the end of our high hopes for the players.

Adu is soon to turn 21, and by this age most great internationals that have been prodigies show significant progress for both club and country. The move to Aris could be Adu’s last chance to be the type of impact footballer we all believed he was destined to be.


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  1. muchadu

    February 19, 2010 at 6:26 pm

    If Adu starts and is allowed to play full games, he is going to destroy people in the super league. If you actually have watched him play you cant deny the skills that he has and this is rare on the USMT. A good coach would find a way to start him on the left wing at the expense of any other US mid, except Donovan/Demps. He is one of the few USMT who could actually give top teams trouble offensively in the WC. The others being LD, Demps and Davies.

  2. zhe fulano

    January 23, 2010 at 9:37 am

    Look at the USMNT U-20 games where Altidore and Adu played up front. They were a great tandem and held their own against the best competition in the world.

    Freddy Adu was thrown too much too fast. He was just 14 when he went pro. He is 20 now and he still looks like a kid. Not every teenager can handle that kind of pressure. Most adults can’t. Freddy needed to mature as a person and as a player before being thrown into the pressure cooker.

    The Freddy Adu we all saw on the USMNT U-20 is still there. He is now more mature now, wiser than most 20 years old by virtue of his experiences and yet still very young. The right coach will get the most out of him, and that can only be good for Aris, the USMNT and for Freddy Adu.

    This move is a real opportunity for Freddy Adu. My prediction is that he will make the most out of it and bring smiles to Aris and American soccer fan.

  3. Caselena

    January 22, 2010 at 10:24 pm

    He’s had so many loans. Think about that. IF he fails at Aris then he’s done. Aris fan’s have passion for him but there is something behind the scenes with freddy. It’s a mystery. It’s true, UK fans hate of freddy badly. He has one last chance to shine or go back to MLS

  4. aris-3-

    January 7, 2010 at 6:05 am

    hello, im a fan of aris thessaloniki. Aris thessaloniki its a very big and popular team in greece, with a lot of fans. Aris have big and glory history. Also aris have great players like: leandro gracian,dario fernandez,sergio koke,toni calvo,ronaldo ”nacho” garcia,mehdi nafti,ronaldo guiaro,cristian nasuti,javier campora and the great coach hector raul cuper. Fans of aris are the greatest of greece. Here is a video about fans of aris during the friendly match with boca juniors on august:
    I hope freddy adu and eddie johnson help aris to conquer the top.

  5. TolisT

    January 7, 2010 at 5:08 am

    Just one comment about Aris being the leading club of Thessaloniki, Greece. This is completely untrue, as the leading club is clearly PAOK, which has a lot more fans than Aris not only in Thessaloniki but all over northern Greece, has won more domestic titles than Aris, has played more times in European competitions than Aris and is consistently finishing higher in the league (with the exception of very few seasons) than Aris. In addition, Aris has been relegated to the second division twice in the decade that just ended, whereas PAOK has never been relegated from the first division. So clearly PAOK is the no. 1 club in Thessaloniki and this should be noted.

  6. MLS is OUR league

    January 6, 2010 at 9:27 pm

    He wasn’t good enough for MLS.

    So if he does well in Greece, we can safely say MLS is better than Greece League.

    • PDK

      January 8, 2010 at 2:08 pm

      The Greek league has been rated higher than MLS. However, that’s irrelevant. Whether Adu will do well in Greece has a lot to do with how well he fits in his team. Leandro Gracian is an incredible Argentinean soccer player that totally failed in Greece. Nevertheless, I would never presume that the Greek league is better than that of Argentina!


      April 21, 2010 at 5:07 pm

      MLS decides the quality of play. via a star chamber of owners, for every team, so you really can’t compare it with any other league in the word. It also makes MLS THEIR league.

  7. Bob

    January 6, 2010 at 8:54 pm

    Aris is a strong team in Greece. Adu is going to a good place if he keeps his head down and learns to work hard.

  8. sucka99

    January 6, 2010 at 8:51 am

    my sources 🙂 confirm this is now complete


    January 6, 2010 at 8:09 am


  10. nick_3f

    January 6, 2010 at 2:19 am

    I cant believe that some people here think MLS is better than european football and especially Greek.
    As i wouldnt believe anyone saying that Euroleague teams are better from NBA teams.
    Europe and Greeks live for football, they wait for the days to pass by so they can go to the next match. And especially Aris Fans who make every stadium yellow with their flags and shirts of Aris.
    I m sure Adu is going to learn many things from Hector Cuper and the magnificent players of Aris.
    Toni Calvo was from youth team of Barcelona
    Sergio Koke from Marseille
    Mehdi Nafti from Manchester City
    The incredible Bolivian Ronald “Nacho” Garcia
    And the Argentinians Javier Campora and Dario Fernadez.
    And last but not least his friend Eddie Johnson.

  11. PDK

    January 6, 2010 at 12:10 am

    For all people who think that playing in Europe is about snobbery, you may wish to take a look at the rankings of the national teams:
    Lots of European countries with a small fraction of the population of USA are ranked higher. That’s not snobbery. That’s tradition.

    • inthewry

      January 6, 2010 at 3:20 am

      Those people might also consider taking a look at the IFFHS national league rankings in which MLS most recently checked in at 46th. There is certainly much room for discussion when it comes to those rankings, but the IFFHS is generally thought to have a pretty solid grasp of what’s happening in world football.

      We all come to MLS Talk because we love the sport and our country’s league, but let’s not fool ourselves about its quality in comparison to Super League Greece or any number of other strong leagues around the world.

    • Fernando

      January 8, 2010 at 8:52 am

      That tradition did not influence the result between USA and the EURO CHAMPION SPAIN…NEITHER PORTUGAL IN 2002…

  12. nail

    January 5, 2010 at 5:25 pm

    Freddie Adu is only 20 years old and has plenty of time to flourish. Adus biggets problem is playing time. Adu has never been on a time that acquired him for his skill. Adus signing to DC United, Real Salt Lake, Benefica, and Monaco, were strictly for marketing purposes. Therefore, each coach never wanted him their in the first place, he was not in their plans. Adus signing to Aris is not for Marketing purposes, the coach obviously wanted him for his skill. This is an opportunity where he will flourish. The best striker in the world Didier Drogba, was a reserve in French Ligue 2 until he was 24. Adu has the skill, and talent to succeed in Europe.

    • Henry W. Hilger

      November 30, 2010 at 3:18 pm

      Adu may only be 20 years of age, but he will never be the player everyone thought he will be. Lets not forget that compared to Europe the MLS is nothing more than a 3 division league, Adu will therefore as a so called American Star player never succeed. He lacks the mentallity and drive to play in professional leagues, it showed when he was with his club in Portugal and will become more evident ones he starts playing for Aris. I would say that hhis contract with aries will not be renewed. There is a youth player with Bayern Muenchen by the name of Thomas Mueller, who I believe is only 19 and a much better player that Adu ever was.

  13. Rafael

    January 5, 2010 at 3:39 pm

    Freddy Adu made a terrible mistake going to Portugal. He should have gone to a Scandinavian league or Holland.

    I believe Adu should go to a Dutch team and the Dutch league. It is where he belonged from the beginning.

    The Dutch game, style, and training could do wonders for his game and soccer IQ. The rigorous fitness of the Dutch might also change his lazy ways.

  14. Et Ugh

    January 5, 2010 at 2:36 pm

    It is a status symbol to play in Europe, but outside of pleasing a handful if eurosnobs and Brit lovers aside most who watch MLS realize top to bottom it is as strong as any league in the world and player development like that of Landon, DMB, Dempsey and others are second to none.

  15. LOL

    January 5, 2010 at 1:21 pm

    The reason Adu isnt worth a shit now is BECAUSE he came out of the mls.. Not that he was any good to begin with.. Low level leagues produce low level players.

    • Fernando

      January 8, 2010 at 8:50 am

      The game between SPAIN AND USA POINT INTO A DIFFERENT DIRECTION. USA have only play soccer with real AMERICANS for ten years all the previous years our team was 75% compose of FOREIGN individuals with a green card and few enthusiastic locals with no talents…

  16. Robert

    January 5, 2010 at 11:31 am



    This poak-aris debate only concerns the couple hundred fans that league has.

    MLS is a better league, but by staying in Europe, the eurosnobs can claim Adu is still national team material.

    You cannot convince me that playing for Kreis, Kinner or Onalfo would not be better for him at this point than in some third rate European wilderness. And the competition will be better in MLS to boot!

    • Yuck

      January 5, 2010 at 2:10 pm

      Kartik is at it again claiming some nothing Euro team in a minor European league is better than MLS.

      This site which should be called USL/US Abroad talk is soooooooo biased.

      For the above commenting that bash MLS, does the Greek League have players the reputation of Montero, Ljunberg, Emilio and DeGuzman not to mention all the world cup US players either in the league currently or developed in MLS.

      MLS is among the top development leagues for young players in the world. Greece by comparison is a dead end.

      So long Freddy and happy trails…..

      • Et Ugh

        January 5, 2010 at 2:40 pm

        I agree.

        Kartik’s agenda is to make us feel stupid because we love MLS and he loves Europe and India.

        Seriously, Aris? Every MLS team is better known. Even some USL teams like Rochester Rhinos than Aris.

        • sylc

          January 5, 2010 at 5:50 pm

          A team not being well known doesn’t mean it isn’t good. I’ll be honest in saying Greece isn’t exactly a top tier league. But we’re much better than Scotland (not much to say outside the Old Firm), Norway, Sweden, and Belgium. THese are leagues Americans have frequently gone to. Everyone will soon see the Greek league is very underrated.

    • PDK

      January 6, 2010 at 12:03 am

      Easy Robert. I doubt that you really know much about the Greek league or any other “European Wilderness”. No reason to be offensive here man. We are just having a friendly conversation.

  17. Chris

    January 5, 2010 at 11:20 am

    Actually PAOK is the leading club in Thessaloniki…there is no debating that. Poor Journalism!

  18. Charles

    January 5, 2010 at 10:47 am

    Greece ?!?!? Sweet we have gone big time. I would say outside of Greek descendants who already have a team, close to 100% of the people are rooting for Aris now.

    IF you are looking for an American team to root for…the Sounders are your best choice.


    January 5, 2010 at 10:24 am

    HELLO FROM GREECE!!! HELLO Kartik Krishnaiye!
    1) COOPER
    2) THE FANS
    3) EDI JONES

  20. Chris Webb

    January 5, 2010 at 8:26 am

    Wonder if Denholm still thinks Freddy Adu is better than Leonel Messi..

    As someone who covered Adu on a weekly basis here in DC, this is indeed the last stop for him. It’s no coincidence that he can’t find any playing time in Europe. He simply doesn’t work hard enough in spite of enormous natural talent.

    Here’s hoping he finally gets the message..

    • wahleyed

      January 5, 2010 at 10:20 am

      I’m afraid he won’t get any messages as long as he has a team willing to take him on loan. It seems that he’ll need to hit bottom hard before anything sinks in.

      • PDK

        January 6, 2010 at 12:00 am

        Probably a correct assessment on Adu. However, I have seen many talented players in complete dormancy until they get to work with the right coach. Maybe Hector Raul Cuper is the man for Adu. As I stated earlier, Adu’s move to Aris is not a done deal. It will be interesting to see what happens if this deal materializes.

  21. johnnie

    January 5, 2010 at 8:09 am

    Please dont spam here as well

    I think both sides can have an advantage of each other. Aris offence is missing a pure winger so that Toni Calvo can play in his natural position…That way we can play a 4-4-2 in straight line or 4-4-2 in other forms such as diamond…I think that if Adu joins Aris then both our american players are of quality that the greek pitches lack…Furthermore they cant be faced from greek defenders so easily

  22. wtf

    January 5, 2010 at 7:48 am

    Is paok (known as mpaougk,baok,unwashed) a greek team?
    I don’t think so..


  23. Vakas_Gr

    January 5, 2010 at 7:05 am

    First of all, there is no doubt that ARIS fans are much better than our “rivals”… We can’ t even compare these two sides… ARIS had many problems for years, an if there were not his fans, the club wouldn’ t be so big…

    Well, let’ s talk about Freddy now… Of course, he is a great talent but he never found the way to cope with European football… I think than Hector Raul Cuper have the ability to make this gifted child (don’ t forget that he is only 20 years old) play great football… So i believe that it is a great opportunity for him…

    Sorry for my “bad english”… 🙂

    Vamos ARIS!!!

  24. Andy

    January 5, 2010 at 6:50 am

    Hey “sylc” don’t say lies in here….
    Paok FC is a slave to Athens team, every player that does a good season then goes to Athens teams!
    Fans… if you just go to yutube you will see who is the most fanatic fans in Greece!!! This is the biggest fan club in Greece!!!
    The big deference between these 2 teams is that ARIS is controlled and managed ONLY from his fans…
    Paok is controlled and helped with money from Greek government….

    About Freddy….ARIS needs hard working players and not superstars… if he work he will have plenty of playing time…

  25. Geo

    January 5, 2010 at 6:01 am

    There is a huge oportunity for Freddy in Thessaloniki and Aris.
    Both sides can win from this.
    Aris seeks a AML player to make the difference and believes in Freddys talent.(there is no question that he has plenty of it)
    Freddy will have the oportunity to work with one of the greatest coaches ever.
    I hope that trough Aris he will travel to Africa with the US nacional team.
    It’s only matter of freddy’s passion for football…

  26. arrostaki

    January 5, 2010 at 5:52 am

    I really can’t understand why Turks search for Adu.In the city of God ARIS there is only one team.Only one video will prove you which team has the best fans…

  27. Hank

    January 5, 2010 at 5:49 am

    What Freedy needs, is playing time.

    I think his choice will be Greece, and Aris.
    The main reason is of course Hector Cuper.
    Besides that fact, Aris is a great team, with enthusiastic fans.

  28. kkoulgr

    January 5, 2010 at 5:43 am

    I really cant understand why a fan of paok should search for Freddy Adu and comment for him.His team isnt interested in that player,how can they do that when they are broke, and nobody asked for his opinion.Really cant explain the way of thinking of some people.Let the boy play ball and after critisice him.Dont show your complexism for ARIS all over the world.

  29. koukosn

    January 5, 2010 at 5:37 am

    and by ????, Viva Mabetistas means ARIS ofcourse hehe

    Anyway, if Freddy comes goes to ARIS he better give his all for the team. The fans might be great supporters, but they are demanding as well. The team doesn’t need any more superstars atm, what they need is hard working players. However I believe the coach Hector Cuper will make sure every player gets that.

    paok who? :s

  30. Viva Mabetistas

    January 5, 2010 at 5:25 am

    As you fellows in the US might not be aware of, ???? is a club that hosts many other sports (this is quite common in HELLAS and some other European countries).
    Overall ???? is the third club in the country (total number of titles) for all team sports and was the first to win the national league in Football, Basketball, and Water-polo as well being the first team outside Athens to win the volley league. We do hope that the hype about Freddy is justified and that all he is missing is correct guidance (Hector Raul Cooper the man) and some spirit….
    ???? fans can provide that….

    greetings from HELLAS

  31. kkoulgr

    January 5, 2010 at 5:24 am

    Dont forget tha Adu is only 21 and he will have Hector Raul Cooper as a coach in ARIS for the next 1,5 year.Do you think this is not a good motivation for him to show hiw really potential in court?ARIS has the best and more fanatic fans in europe.Amazing people singing and helping their team in every match…….i bet Adu willl grab this oportunity and walk one more time through the stars……

  32. sylc

    January 4, 2010 at 10:31 pm

    I agree that this is his last shot, but it’s a good move (I’m biased being Greek and id like to see both him and Eddie Johnson perform well) as Aris aren’t too deep at the position. That doesn’t mean playing time is a given either especially when a player hasn’t found much of it in years.

    Also, PAOK has 10x the tradition and is most certainly the leading club of Thessaloniki. They have the best fans of Greece and thats almost a consensus. Hopefully he and Johnson can lead while the rest of the team goes to hell.

    • PDK

      January 5, 2010 at 1:09 am

      Do I detect some inter-city bitterness in the tone here?

      • sylc

        January 5, 2010 at 5:18 pm

        I’m being as neutral as possible.

  33. Eric Altshule

    January 4, 2010 at 10:28 pm

    There is a mystery about Freddy Adu. I have also seen moments in him where he looks like a real talent, and other moments where he looks like someone in need of some good coaching. However, the degree to which he has never gotten a meaningful look in Europe is startling. Teams that have paid good money for Adu, or have agreed to take him on loan, have barely let him see the light of day. It would seem that there was something behind the scenes – an attitude on the training ground, an inability to ingratiate himself with his team, an unwillingness to accept coaching – that is holding him back. If he cannot get minutes in Greece, he is done as an important professional.

  34. Adam Edg

    January 4, 2010 at 7:37 pm

    I agree. This is Adu’s last shot. The boy has been a flop all around for most of his career. Sure he has some flashes of brilliance like the U-21 Worl Cup a couple of years ago, but on the club scene he has been a joke. In DC he whined abouty playing time and then did jack with the minutes he got. Did he even suit up for RSL?
    That said, I want Adu to do well and feel that part of his attitude was brought on by the media blitz used by MLS to promote the league when he turned pro.

  35. PDK

    January 4, 2010 at 6:55 pm

    I am not certain that Adu’s move to Aris is a done deal. However, if that happens, there are a couple of things that can work well for Adu. Aris is a team of very skillful players but lacks a reliable left midfielder, which is why I believe they are interested in him. In addition, Aris’ coach, Hector Raul Cuper is one of the top soccer coaches anywhere. This is the man to get Adu in the right track. We’ll see.

  36. BTT

    January 4, 2010 at 6:36 pm

    This is it for him, I agree.

    He either does well at Aris, works hard and becomes a top player in the Greek Super League, and works his way back into the USNT picture and a future big transfer


    He flops again, the deal is terminated as an above poster stated and he is forced to finish his failed career out in MLS- an MLS lifer coming home at 21 and probably playing 10 years at sub par wages against poor quality opposition.

    I hope for the former but think the later is likely.

  37. Matt in MA

    January 4, 2010 at 6:22 pm

    Why should American talent stay in the US? If you want to USMNT to be competitive on the international stage, then our best players should be elsewhere. MLS is a joke.

    • Charles

      January 5, 2010 at 10:41 am

      Is Holden a joke ? Seems like Kinnear of the hated Dynamo puts out better product for the USMNT than all of Europe combined ( outside of the goalies )

  38. Robert

    January 4, 2010 at 6:19 pm

    Adu should of just stayed in MLS. Look at all those years wasted away riding the pine. Oh well, who is the next American talent to go oversees and be thrown away like last year’s xmas toy. MLS please pay American talent so this will not happen again.

    • Charles

      January 5, 2010 at 10:39 am

      Nah, $$$$
      I would think that MLS could have relatively matched that this time around however. ( assuming he would rather be in US ).

      Maybe noone was interested.

    • Yuck

      January 5, 2010 at 2:13 pm

      Only on this biased site does a move to a league that is far worse than MLS constitute progress.

  39. Terry

    January 4, 2010 at 6:06 pm

    I give Aris three months to terminate the deal. Adu will flop yet again and people like Kartik and Denholm will have to continue to find excuses.

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