Adu signed a professional contract at the age of 14 and was selected by D.C. United as the number one overall pick in the 2004 MLS SuperDraft. After making his professional debut against the San Jose Earthquakes on April 3 as the youngest player on a major U.S. pro team in more than 115 years, Adu was a member of Peter Nowak's 2004 MLS Cup championship squad. The US international finished his first season with five goals and three assists after notching his first professional goal on April 17 in a 3-2 loss to the MetroStars, thus becoming the youngest goal scorer in MLS history. Named an MLS All-Star in 2004 and 2006, Adu scored 11 goals and added 17 assists in 87 appearances with the Black-and-Red.
After three seasons with United, Adu was transferred on December 11, 2006 to Real Salt Lake, where he scored two goals in 11 total appearances. Halfway through his first season in Salt Lake, weeks after he scored three goals against Poland at the 2007 Under-20 World Cup, Adu's rights were secured by Benfica. Adu made his debut with the Portuguese First Division club on August 14, 2007 against Copenhagen in a UEFA Champions League qualifying match, coming in as a 37th minute substitute. Adu went on to score two goals in 11 games with Benfica's first team.
After spending the 2007 season with the Portuguese giants, Adu was sent on a variety of loans to French club AS Monaco (2008-2009), Portuguese First Division club C.F. Os Belenenses (2009), Greek SuperLiga club Aris FC (2010) and most recently Turkish side Caykur Rizespor of the TFF First League (2011). Adu enjoyed his most successful European stint with Rizespor, netting four goals in 13 appearances while consistently featuring in the starting XI.
The 22-year-old, who has been capped 17 times by the senior U.S. National Team, became the youngest player to debut for the US at the age of 16 and 234 days in a friendly against Canada on January 22, 2006. Adu scored his first international goal in a World Cup qualifier against Guatemala, a 2-0 win on November 19, 2008. The attacking midfielder was called for the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup, starting in a 4-2 loss to Mexico in the championship match and assisting on both goals scored by the US. Adu was also called by new U.S. Head Coach Jurgen Klinsmann for a friendly against Mexico on August 10.
Adu has represented the US Men's National Team at all levels, competing in the 2003 FIFA U-17 World Cup. He also starred in three U20 FIFA World Cups in 2003, 2005 and 2007. Under Nowak's guidance, Freddy was one of the top players in the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.
(Copyright 2011 Philadelphia Union. Reprinted by permission)