Remembering the Freddy Adu Hype, circa 2005

Back in 2005, Freddie Adu was the face of US soccer for most casual MLS fans.  Though he’s yet to live up to the hype that surrounded him in 2004 when he signed with DC United, he’s definitely been showing promise lately.  He’s scored two goals in his last two games with his current club, Aris FC, which, once again, has US fans excited about his chances of making this summer’s World Cup quad.

His recent success had me thinking again of a piece I did with him back in the spring of 2005.  It was for a show I produced for MTV News called “Fake ID Club” that showcased pop culture’s best and brightest under the age of 21.  Because my bosses knew I was a die-hard footy fan, they, unbelievably, allowed me to showcase Freddy.

I traveled down to Maryland to catch his DC United practice and got to hang out with his mom and brother at his house.  It was a memorable day and I can definitely report first hand that the kid has some serious skills.

The funniest part of the experience was that Freddy had a crush on the show’s host, teen pop star JoJo.  When I told him that she would he intro-ing the piece, he asked if he could give her a personal message–on camera–that ended up making it in the piece.  A week later,  I caught up with JoJo in Brisbane, Australia to shoot her hostv wraps.  I read to her exactly what Freddy had said.  She was genuinely smitten and the next thing I knew they were, reportedly, dating.  Like, for the next couple of years!

I like to think I had something to do with that! [ha ha]  So in honor of Freddy Adu finally showing some overdue promise in Greece, here’s the piece I produced with him 5 years ago.

Freddy Adu–Who Are Ya?! from andrew millard on Vimeo.

BENFICA V. COPENHAGEN VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS, INCLUDING SOME FREDDY ADU

I know this is a tad late but I just came across this video and haven’t seen it anywhere else.  It’s a fairly thorough highlight segment of Tuesday’s Champions League qualifier between Benfica v. FC Copenhagen.

I don’t speak Portuguese, but it sounded like the commentators were liking what they were seeing from Freddy Adu, who was making his Benfica debut.

ROY KEANE HATES ‘WAGS’

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I really like Roy Keane. I’ve liked him so much as a player at Manchester United and now as manager of Sunderland that he has almost singlehandedly made me a fan of the team.

I don’t need to tell you why Keano’s the man but I found these comments he made yesterday about current players wives and girlfriends hilarious. Suffice to say, keep the ladies at home!

‘It’s important you bring the right players to the club. You can’t always be a Steve Bruce but you can be a character who comes in and gives 100% for the club. But I have to say I think the game is getting less and less characters. They are more motivated by lots of different things like money and London and living in shopping areas. Really you’re a footballer and when you’re retired you can live anywhere you want. But players are very much focused on where they are going to live and a lot of that is down to their partners who seem to be running their lives anyway. It concerns me really.’

STEVEN GERRARD HAS A BROKEN TOE

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It hasn’t been a good week for footballer’s feet.

It was announced today that Steven Gerrard has a hairline fracture in his right foot, though he still believes he’ll play this Sunday against Chelsea. He won’t, however, suit up for the England v. Germany friendly next Wednesday, according to manager, Rafael Benitez.

The injury occurred yesterday during Liverpool’s Champions League qualifier against Toulouse.

The news, of course, comes days after Wayne Rooney suffered a hairline fracture to his left foot against Reading, putting him out of action for the next two months.   Consequently, it’s also reignited the discussion of how well players are protected with the current line of football boots.

Regarding that subject,  Reuters UK published an interesting article today featuring Adidas Predator designer Craig Johnston, who believes that protection in today’s boots is sub-par at best.   “It’s only a matter of time before a player gets so seriously injured that he sues a major sportswear company”.  Check it out here.

BECKHAM SCORES FIRST GOAL, CARRIES GALAXY TO VICTORY

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As soon as the free kick was called, I knew it was going to happen.

There he was 27 minutes into the first half, David Beckham, in his first start with the Galaxy and wearing the captain armband, in perfect position to do what he does best. It was almost like he HAD to score in order to prove that all the hype of him coming to America was justified.

The whistle blew…he stepped into it…launched it over the DC United defensive wall…top corner.

It was a trademark Beckham goal and I couldn’t feel more happy for him. With everyone on his back about his injured ankle and his limited playing time, he showed everyone, with one masterful kick, that this “has-been” still had a a lot of game left in him.

Tonight, the LA Galaxy played their best game of the season–and by leaps and bounds. They dominated DC United 2-0 in front of their home crowd and are now through to the Super Liga finals.

It’s just amazing how Becks lifts the play of everyone around him.  Their defense was tighter, their possession was longer and, most importantly, the Galaxy players looked like they were actually enjoying themselves. You got the feeling that just by seeing David in the starting lineup, the team knew they couldn’t lose.

The second goal in the 47th minute was also a result of some Beckham magic. Former Galaxy captain Landon Donovan (thought I’m not sure if David is the permanent skipper) ran in front of a perfectly finessed Becks pass that allowed L.D. enough space to scamper in on a breakaway. If there was anyone that seems to really appreciate number 23’s presence, it’s Landon. He seemed to have a smile on his face all night long.

And if it wasn’t for an amazing, diving save in the second half by DC goaltender Troy Perkins, Becks would have had himself another free kick tally.

So, the million dollar question (literally) is what about the ankle? Becks did take a few knocks in his 63 minutes tonight, especially one in the beginning of the first half that appeared to hurt him, but he ran well and, obviously, had no problem striking the ball.

For now (fingers crossed) it looks like he’ll be in the starting lineup Saturday night, in front of 50 thousand people at Giant Stadium for his big NY debut against the Red Bulls.

UPDATE: The goal:

P.S. I call for an all out ban of any “Bend it Like Beckham” references when referring to Beckham scoring on free kicks. Please, US soccer commentators, can’t we be a tad more original??

THINGS GETTING INTERESTING FOR MANCHESTER CITY OWNER

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Former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra is a wanted man back in the country he used to be in charge of. Thailand’s Supreme Court issued a warrant for his arrest today on corruption charges.

Thai prosecutors have threatened to seek Shinawatra’s extradition from the U.K. if he doesn’t arrive in Bangkok for a court hearing. The last one that he was ordered to appear at, he didn’t show up to.

OK, so it’s not like City doesn’t know how to deal with warrants and police investigations. Hell, Joey Barton played there for five seasons. But it’s a different matter altogether when the owner of a club faces charges like these. According to the BBC, if Thaksin is convicted it could threaten his status as Manchester City’s owner because it would be in violation of F.A. rules.

This could be the football saga of the year…

WAYNE ROONEY AND THE SANCHEZ BOYS–WATCH JACKASS MUCH?

Have you seen this new Wayne Rooney “commercial” for Nike? It’s actually more of a segment than a 30 seconds advert.

The Man With The Fragile Feet is paid a visit by the Sanchez Boys who seem to be the English version of Jackass. Despite ripping Johhny Knoxville and friends off, it’s still pretty funny seeing guys getting soccer balls kicked at their faces and groins.

Yeah, I’m easily entertained.