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Freddy Adu

Posted on 13 October 2008 by Steve Long

Freddy Adu, who began at DC United as a 14 year old professional, spoke after the Oct. 11 U.S. Men’s National Team’s 6-1 rout of Cuba about returning to DC and his continued growth as a player.

Like DaMarcus Beasley, he is small and relies on quickness and guile to make his game. As a very young professional he would frequently get pushed around. He and Danny Szetela returned to Bradenton for two successive winters and Adu put on 10 pounds, mostly on the upper body, on each occasion. He went so far as to have his own gym in his home in Potomac and charted his progress as he developed.

He has progressed since then, “You’ve got to get stronger in your lower body and that’s what I’ve been working on. I’m not as easy to push off the ball anymore. Keep your balance and be quicker. When you get one step on a person, you gotta go. You can’t let him get his body into you.”

He has balanced strengthening his weakness with emphasizing his quickness, “You’re a smaller player so defenders are gonna want to hit you, because they’re much bigger and they might not be as quick as you. Whatever you’re gonna do, just do it quicker and just go.”

He had said when at DC that he had learned from Jaime Moreno to push off the defender before the defender could do the same to him. While he still often went down, his lower body strength has given him more confidence, “That’s all it is. Just anticipate it and then when the defender hits you, you can’t go down.”

At first, he would often not get the calls he might expect because he seemed to go down too easily. He has learned the value of demonstrated persistence, “You gotta try and keep your balance. Sometimes it’s gonna be a foul and you got to go down. But, most of the time now I just try to stay up on my feet.”

He was warmly received by the crowd as he entered and after the game, and has a nice Barra Brava tee shirt as a souvenir. He was clearly happy to return, “Unbelievable, unbelievable. After the game, I just stood there. This is where I started my career. It brought back so many memories.

“The fans were absolutely amazing. The best fans in MLS, hands down. I just stood there. I almost wanted to cry. Just hearing the crowd chant my name, it was unbelievable. I really appreciated that.

“DC United is a family. Every time one of their players comes back. Esky was telling me when he came back last time, they gave him a great, great welcome too. If you’ve played here, you’re part of the family.”

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