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By 14, when most boys are attempting to juggle home life with school life, or ignoring both while trying to crack the enigma that is teenage dating, Freddy Adu was making the most of the opportunities afforded to him and his ability, and he made the decision to turn down any potential college scholarships in order to turn professional and join In fact, having joined DC United – fresh out of the US Olympic Development Program – as the number one overall pick in the 2004 MLS Super Draft, 14-year-old Adu hit the ground running, and assisting, and scoring.

However, when given the opportunity to earn millions of dollars for him and his single mother who was, at the time, working three jobs just to clothe and feed her ambitious son, it was all too easy to say yes.

In 2006 he moved to Real Salt Lake, before Portuguese giants Benfica signed him a year later.

Then-DC United boss Piotr Nowak’s patient tempering of his progress placed unnecessary roadblocks in the way of him achieving his dreams, and soon Adu was signing off on a one-way ticket out of the country’s capital, en route for Salt Lake City.

wasted no time in securing their man’s signature, with a $2 million bid enough to prize the promising youngster from Real Salt Lake’s grasp, allowing Adu the opportunity to strut his stuff on the European stage aged just 18.

But it was around this time, with his appearances at the Estádio da Luz increasingly limited, that Adu first appeared to be out of his depth, with many believing the midfielder had allowed his progress to falter as a result of falling victim to his own hype.

Rarely venturing onto the pitch to join the likes of Rui Costa and Ángel Di María Sunny Monaco became home for six months during Adu’s first ever loan spell, but this came to an uninspiring end almost as quickly as it had begun, and Adu was back in Portugal for an ill-fated stint at Belenenses, before completing his impromptu three-year tour of Europe following brief spells at Aris in It wasn’t until his intercontinental travels had brought him back to America that a sense of belonging returned to Adu’s career, when, in 2011, he signed for old boss Piotr Nowak at Philadelphia Union.

Before long, Adu established himself as one of the leading young players in the country.

He was invited to join the national under 17 team when he was only 12 years old. Adu has since signed with Esporta Clube Bahia in Brazil.

So if Nike comes to you and says they want to give a million-dollar contract and the MLS wants to make you the highest-paid player at 14, you can't say 'no.'”Born in 1989, in Tema, Ghana, Freddy Adu started playing soccer as a child.

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