Freddy Adu is on trial with the Portland Timbers, who might be able to use him
Freddy Adu – the former American prodigy who was once hyped as the next Pele – has been bouncing around for the better part of a decade looking for a club where he can reach his potential.
Now, the 27-year-old is on the move again and vying for a spot with the Portland Timbers. Adu is reportedly set to take part in the Timbers preseason camp in Arizona as a trialist.
Whether it will work out is anyone's guess. After all, lately he's gotten more attention for his Twitter ads for vacuum cleaners and for frozen meals than his playing career. Adu had been with the Tampa Bay Rowdies, but he won't return in 2017 since his contract expired, although it hasn't been made clear whether that was his decision or the club's. He's played at 13 clubs in as many years and his stints have never lasted very long.
The Timbers, however, are in full re-build mode after a poor 2016 season and Caleb Porter, who coached Adu on the U.S.'s 2012 Olympic qualifying team, is going to look at every option.
Porter has emphasized having depth at every position in 2017 and, given that, it seems Adu could be one of the back-up options for Diego Valeri since the Timbers don't have a similar creative central midfielder behind him. The only other option behind Valeri at the moment is Darlington Nagbe, who Porter said would be playing on the left wing this season because that is where analytics show he is more productive.
For Adu, a move back to MLS – if it works out – could offer a chance to start a resurgence. Adu was a prodigy as a teen and dubbed the "next Pele," which sure wasn't fair to him since – surprise! – his career did not reach such all-time great heights. He's mostly struggled to find regular playing time, but at 27 he still has plenty of career left.
Adu's trial with the Timbers sounds like a bit of a long shot – don't start buying those customized Adu Timbers jerseys yet – but it makes plenty of sense for both sides to at least see how it goes.