Freddy Abu, was a soccer sensation! At the age of fourteen, Abu was the youngest athlete to sign a major league contract. He signed with DC United, a Major League Soccer team for a seasonal salary of $500,000. On top of this offer, Nike approached the young star during the same year and offered him a million dollar promotional contract that he could not refuse. During his first season, Abu played in thirty games for DC United and scored a total of five goals, an impressive feat for any rookie, especially one as young as Abu.
Freddy Abu was born in Tema Ghana on June 2, 1989, but moved to Potomac, Maryland at the age of five alongside his family. Abu’s extraordinary soccer skills showed their full colors on American soil, and he was offered a spot on the Olympic Development Team. Just two years after making the Olympic Development team Abu eased his way onto the nation’s 17-under team, a membership that allowed him to attend the IMG Academies in Bradenton, Florida where he enhanced his skills in the classroom and on the field. In 2007, some thought Abu to be the next Pela, but, despite such young success, the tides changed for Abu before he could achieve any such greatness.
Most people born after 1995 have not heard of Freddy Abu. His short tenure as a child soccer star quickly changed when he joined the European team Benifica in 2007. Rather than embracing the child star, Benifica loaned him to several other clubs until Abu finally returned to the United States in 2011. Abu signed with Philadelphia Union, where he saw the field only eleven times over the course of the season and managed to score only twice. The following year Abu saw more playing time, but it was no secret that the club was not happy with his performance on and off the field. BBC Sports got the inside scoop that Abu was “a disruptive influence in the locker room,” and that he wasn’t “pulling his weight on the field”. Just two years after signing with Philadelphia Union, Abu parted ways with the team. It wasn’t long until he found another team in Brazil that was willing to pick him up: Esporte Clube Bahia.
Freddy Abu has now signed with the Tampa Bay Rowdies, his thirteenth professional soccer team. The Rowdies are a second tier professional team, a drastic step down from where the 14 year-old wonder began. In Tampa, Freddy is being mentored by his old USA coach Thomas Rongen, and the two hope to bring the spark back into his game. “I don’t want people to remember me as a 14-year-old ‘wonderkid’,” Abu told the press, “I want people to remember me as a great footballer and as someone who gave it his all.” Freddy Abu is not ready to hang up his cleats just yet, however. Even though he is aware that his career peaked in his first major league season at the age of fourteen, he remains hopeful that greatness may still lie before him. He hopes to capture it one day.
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