Freddy Adu, who was recently signed by Finnish first-division side Kupion Palloseura (KuPS), was formally introduced to the press as the newest member of the club on Thursday.
In a press conference that lasted nearly 25 minutes, Adu touched on a wide-ranging set of topics, from his current fitness levels, to the standard of play he’s witnessed thus far in Finland, to the reason he left FK Jagodina (Serbia) in Deecmber, to the U.S. national team aspirations he still holds onto to this day.
First things first, Adu says he is “100 percent fit” following a prolonged stint working out with a U.S. Under-23 national team trainer.
Adu, on his USMNT aspirations (All quotes from SI.com):
“That’s every footballer’s dream is to be able to represent the national team. My national team is the USA. I’ve been there before. I haven’t been there for a while and I would like to get back there. That’s a goal and I know this is the way to do it. Coming here, working your socks off for the team and helping the team win and making a difference. When you do that, everything else takes care of itself.”
On his time in Serbia and why he left the club when he did:
“When a coach signs off on bringing you to the team, he obviously values you, but if he leaves and a new coach comes in and you’re not his guy, it’s a little more difficult to get on the field. That’s not the only reason [I left]. … I still haven’t actually been paid my salary from Serbia. That was something that I didn’t expect when I got there. It played a role as well. That’s why I was actually able to leave earlier from Serbia, because they couldn’t afford the salary or didn’t pay the salary … a lot of guys on the team ended up leaving early.”
On the standard of play in Finland, after two training sessions with his new teammates:
“When you come to Finland, you don’t think that there’s going to be guys that are that technical, but I was really surprised and I’m actually really happy to be here, because we were able to play and do some nice combinations on the ball and whatnot, and I’m really looking forward to the season with the team.”
It has to be said: it’s a long, long, long road back for Adu to the USMNT at this point. He’s not sniffed a national team camp since the summer of 2011, the final days of Bob Bradley’s tenure. The player pool has expanded tenfold under Jurgen Klinsmann and Adu realistically ranks below every starting American midfielder currently plying their trade in MLS, because, you know, they’ve at least been playing games the last four years.
At this point, it’s hard not to root for Adu, though — to find a fruitful landing spot and enjoy something of a successful professional career, regardless of how badly he’s “failed” to meet unrealistic expectations thus far. Now on his 11th club in 10 years, he deserves that, if for no other reason than the fact he still hasn’t given up.