Freddy Adu’s story a cautionary tale to consider when talking Julian Green

JulianGreenBayernMunich1 (DFB)

By IVES GALARCEP

It may have just been a coincidence, but the fact that Freddy Adu’s first public comments in months came out on the same day that Julian Green sent the U.S. Men’s National Team fan base buzzing by agreeing to train with the USMNT seemed to suggest that there was a lesson to be considered.

As Green’s profile grows despite him not actually playing much, and as we reach the decade-mark since Adu was the teenager American fans couldn’t get enough of, we should really consider Adu’s career and think about the lessons we can take away from it when it comes to Green and how we treat the 18-year-old Bayern Munich prospect.

In my recent Goal.com column, I looked at these two players, and what we could take away from Adu’s career that could put Green’s own standing into perspective.

Give the column a read and let me know what you think of the topic. Think too much hype is already being put on Green? See Adu being able to resurrect his career again? Hoping the day comes when we see Green and Adu on the national team together?

Share your thoughts below.

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136 Responses to Freddy Adu’s story a cautionary tale to consider when talking Julian Green

  1. landon klinsmann says:

    Coming from a country rife with fraud, Adu was always older than his stated age. That is why he flopped, because being a good 17 year old is easy when you are 20. It is not so easy to play against adults, however, when they have caught up with you in growth. I don’t see the same comparisons with Green. Not at all.

    • Murph says:

      And your proof?

      • downintexas says:

        He has a friend who has an uncle from the same town as Adu! DUH!

      • landon klinsmann says:

        Same as the proof you have to the contrary. Despite DNA testing for human identity, there is still no 100 percent accurate way to test for human age. That said, Freddy is remarkable for bypassing grades in school (why is he not now sitting on Mensa?) and being the same height since age 13 (fact check the odds of that happening). Also watch Soccer’s Lost Boys and learn about the pressure that West Africans live under each day to use soccer to find a new life. Never mind that you don’t have to leave California to find kids cheating on age to form league and tournament winning teams. I would say that his career trajectory is proof enough. Green’s will be nothing like Freddy’s because there are no markers (notice I didn’t say proof) of age fraud.

        • John says:

          You mean other then that hairline?

        • Ian says:

          “Same as the proof you have to the contrary.”
          You should be a lawyer, man. Brilliant rebuttle.

        • Kosh says:

          This is the age we live in – wrap a lie in some debatable truths and call it truth. I am origionally from Westa Africa, and while what you say does occur (in many places in the world, mind you) I have persoanlly met Freddy and I am quite certain that he is now 24. So it’s his fault for being smart (I too skipped a few grades and never went to high school, didn’t have to) -ooooh. He is from West Africa – yup that’s it, that’s the smoking gun. How because you read it in a book.

          When folks challenge Adu’s age I can’t tell if it’s poking fun or worse. But when I consider your “rife fraud” comment I’m gonna go with worse in your case.

          • John says:

            The fact is far more young prospects don’t work out then do. You take the first round pick of any sport and it’s a coin if they’ll still even be playing in 5 years.

            • Kosh says:

              + 1

              I don’t know if that was meant for me, John, but I fully and wholely agree. I don’t think Freddy adn Green are anything alike. While the two have potential (I think green has more at his age now then Freddy did at the same age) it all comes down to work ethic and doing the things that increase the odds on that coin flip.

          • landon klinsmann says:

            For Ghana fraud just check out the “chop your dollar” vid or just go to the U.S. embassy website. But I’ll concede that there is also a lot of fraud right here in U.S. I also believe we have had other cases of this and didn’t even realize it. It is a shame to think that real stars have turned away from the sport because they didn’t have enough success, while age frauds grabbed up all the scouts’ attention. Which goes to Ives comparison of the two players, I think that Green has no markers of fraud and many indicators of true success against talented opposition. I don’t think he will fizzle out anytime soon, but he still has more development.

          • Gary Page says:

            Adu played in what, 2 or 3 youth World Cups and in the U-23 team and all the officials at all those levels accepted the documents/proof that he presented as to his age. But, obviously the officials who deal with this thing all the time don’t know as much as the posters here. There are still some people who believe fervently that President Obama was born in Kenya. Delusion seems rampant nowadays.

        • Manito says:

          you know i think your comments are funny. Just because he is the same height as when he was 13 doesn’t mean anything. I stopped growing at the age of 13. So does that mean that mean that i was lied to about when i was born? is the year on my birth certificate wrong? I know many people who stopped growing at age 13 or 14. I just think before you start saying stuff about him being older you get facts not theory’s.

        • Northzax says:

          But he didn’t use soccer to get to the us. His mother won the green card lottery when he was eight. Who the hell would move to the us to make their fortune playing soccer in 1998? That’s some incredible foresight on the part of his mother, who then connoted at least a felony lying about her son’s age for no good reason.

          Then yes, he skipped two grades, at a super elite private school where he was on scholarship in order to play for their high school team.

          The only reason for his mother to lie about his age on her green card application was if he was 18. Since she had applied three times before, he would have been 18 then, which means he was really a 21 year old passing as an 8 year old. Which means when he entered The Heights (current middle school tuition: $21,345, run by the Roman Catholic diocese of Washington and very conservative, we’re talking Opus Dei conservative) no one noticed that this ten year old boy was actually a 23 year old man. When dcu drafted him, their doctors didn’t notice that the 14 year old boy they drafted was really a 27 year old man? RSL didn’t notice? benfica didn’t notice? There sure are a lot of people in on this con, aren’t there?

      • Rick says:

        He hardly grew from the time he was 14 yrs old. That is almost unheard if from a male.

        • Paul Miller says:

          I’m with you. Nothing can be proven, but there’s a lot of circumstantial stuff. Stopped growing, played professional at 14 or whatever yet never got better (forget height, how many athletes never get faster from 14 to 24?), etc. Besides, he doesn’t look 24 now (at least not to me – looks more like 30).

          Sure, with any young prospect, like Green for instance, there’s no telling how things will work out. But I think its a stretch to make comparisons between Green and Adu and call it a cautionary tale. Even if Adu is the age he says, he never played at as high a level club as Green does now – even if playing time is limited.

        • Gary Page says:

          It was true for my brother who had an early growth spurt and was, if anything, a bit bigger at 14 than he was as an adult because he also put on weight and probably weighed more at 14 than in his early adult years. But, I can’t stop you from believing what you want to believe. Ahh, that good old American tradition, guilty of any charges made until proven innocent.

          • landon klinsmann says:

            Guilt and innocence have nothing to do with it. Nobody will ever secure a criminal conviction against him because, as I wrote earlier, there is no proof – either way. But you obviously don’t know much about youth soccer if you so fervently deny the possibility that Adu’s situation looks a lot like an age fraud case. I would only add that I think Freddy has soccer ability, he wouldn’t have been selected by 10 clubs in 10 years if he didn’t. All I am saying is that the disconnect between the potential and the kinetic is easy to understand when you consider age fraud as an explanation. With Green, there is no suspicion and no baggage, so Ives comparison falls short for that reason alone.

        • slyboy says:

          I grew exactly 1 inch from 14 to 18, but 6 between 12-14. Does that mean I am secretly an old man? no it means that I am a short guy who had one growth spurt and that is it.

          • David K says:

            Truly. When I was in 4th grade the biggest most badassed kid in my grade was 5’6. He was a full head taller than everyone and totally dominated at every sport. When we were in highschool I was several inches taller than him because he had barely grown since then. By then he sucked at every sport.

        • Northzax says:

          I didn’t. I was 6’4″ at 14. I was 6’5″ at 25.

      • WhoKnowsTheTruth says:

        Personally I am never going to doubt Adu’s age unless there is solid proof. However, if Lance Armstrong can fool all of us, it’s not unthinkable to at least consider Adu is older based on all the superficial evidence people give.

    • Rory Miller says:

      I see no grounds for comparing the two at all. I mean, Freddy Adu became a cultural sensation, people who had never watched a soccer game would suddenly know his name before he had ever turned pro, or before he had accomplished anything. Whereas with Green we are just excited at the possibility of having a future star sign up with the US. I don’t see how there is any need for this comparison at all.
      In fact, going further, I think if anything Green has nothing to learn from Adu because instead of making the jump to a team when he is not ready Green is already coming through a large team’s program… it’s not like he’s going to leap to a bigger club than Bayern! Green’s already established in the Bayern youth programs and now he has to see if he stays there to break through with the full team or if he wants to chase playing time sooner with another team. Kind of the opposite of Adu.

      • Kosh says:

        + 1

        Thank you.

      • Josh D says:

        Agreed. I see no basis for comparing the two except for the clicks it’d draw. Slow day at the office?

        Adu was 14, achieved absolutely nothing professionally before getting hyped, played in MLS, was coached by an MLS coach, failed at every team he’s been in, and did nothing special of note on the field.

        Green is four years older, has played in the CL (Adu never has), competes for a position on the best team in the world, was praised by the best manager in the world, and trains with some of the best players in the world. Adu’s claim to fame is he trained alongside Donovan.

        Even Germany are excited by the prospects of Green.

        We were excited when Adu went to Europe, but even there he was never praised for his abilities by everyone at the clubs he was at. And Adu never competed in a world class team.

        • John says:

          I don’t want to sound like i’m hating on Green but are we really counting him walking out on the field in the last 2 minutes of a match that meant nothing to Bayern as playing in CL?

          • Eurosnob says:

            I see your point, but Bayern would not play a youngster in a CL fixture unless they think very highly of him. They specifically identified him as one of the top three prospects in their youth system – it does not mean that he made it but there are very good signs.

        • PSU says:

          Adu played on the same field as Pele in a commercial, does that not count for something?

        • Techskillz416 says:

          I’m not sure what Julian Green you speak of but the one I know of..plays for Bayern Munich II a 4th division German league squad. Julian Green has played 1 game for the Senior squad. a two min on the pitch debut……he has 15 goals for the 4th Munich II. While Adu has scored goals for the USMNT at all levels, Benfica…when Green (who i think will do just fine) plays for a senior squad and produces let me know….

      • evan says:

        Here Here! there’s a HUGE difference between playing for Bayern, the best team in the world, at age 18, and being the face of the MLS

      • Gary Page says:

        I usually like and agree with whatever Ives writes, but he really missed the boat on this one. This is maybe the poorest article I have read from him. Not only are they not comparable, but I don’t know where he gets the idea that Americans are going ga ga over Green. Most I read are taking a wait and see approach.

    • Kosh says:

      This is an extremely reckless and ignorant comment. Nothing personal, just describing the baseless position you take in your post. As fun as it is in the internet spaces to mock (and in some more ignorant cases, convince oneself of) Adu’s age, Freddy Adu is 24 years old. I have personally met him in his early DC days and anyone could tell that he was just a kid back then. But I am sure when you met him he was much, much older.

      Freddy, like tons of hugely talented kids who run into developmental issues, admitted himself that he didn’t put in the work required to get the best out of the game. I hope you watched his interview, if not I suggest you do so. The very best will often tell you that talent is not enough. You must put an honest amount of work in to progress.

      The similarity here is this – Green has the goods but if he does not put the work in, stay grounded, shows the hunger, dedication and drive needed to stay at the top then he too will find himself removed from those heights and expectations. Now if you add in the stubbornness of Adu that lead to his globe trekking ways then, yes, Green too could walk the trail of Adu…regardless of one hailing from “rife fraud” and the other…not so much.

      • landon klinsmann says:

        You just keep telling yourself that, nothing personal of course.

        • Kosh says:

          I don’t have to convince myself because I too was once a 14 year old West African boy and have some knowledge of what another one looks like. But I am sure you are more of an expert on this issue – you know with you being so certain and all.

    • PSU says:

      To be fair, Adu was excelling in youth tournaments where he played against much “older” players. So, there was a time when he was as good as players that were his age or older. Granted, there wouldn’t have been as much hype but he still would have been hyped as the future greatest American soccer player.

    • JCC says:

      “Coming from a country rife with fraud, Adu was always older than his stated age. That is why he flopped, because being a good 17 year old is easy when you are 20. It is not so easy to play against adults, however, when they have caught up with you in growth. I don’t see the same comparisons with Green. Not at all.”

      Ha! Who knew Breitbart readers were also soccer fans.

    • Daniel says:

      C’mon Ives. Let’s not compare apples to oranges now.

    • El Baseball says:

      It has happened too many times count in baseball with players lying about their age i.e. Dominican Republic

    • JoeW says:

      Sigh. Freddie Adu has a lot of reasons why he never turned in to a good pro. But the tired old argument that he lied about his age ignored the research and arguments by a host of objective sources. For instance, Adu had an incentive (for immigration purposes) to lie that he was OLDER. And for soccer purposes, he had a reason to claim that he was OLDER (so he could have signed with Inter sooner). Your claim ignores that the research that SI did on this issue (which couldn’t find conclusive proof but had pretty good evidence that indicated he was the age he said he was).

      Also, Adu wasn’t a 15 y.o. competing with 15 y.o.s. He was always competing with guys at least 2-5 years older than this age. And he was NEVER more impressive physically (even in travel soccer where I had a chance to see him play once) than the players of his own age. The argument that his peers caught up with him in growth really pretty much ignores the reality that at EVERY level Adu played at, he was always going against guys who were taller, faster and strong.

      BTW, when you finish posting here, do you then go to other sites to argue that Obama wasn’t born in Hawaii? C’mon, there are just some arguments that are pretty old and tired and the Adu/faked age is one of them.

  2. blokhin says:

    SBI commenters” “yeah, but still…” then start listing off random names of 15-20 year old players and how awesome the stacked US team will be in 2022 World Cup

    • Ali Dia says:

      That’s the only reason I come here. That and Wondolowski comments that might or might not be facetious

  3. slowleftarm says:

    If Green becomes an important part of the Bayern first team, the pressure that comes with that will dwarf any pressure that would come from US fans. Of course, in that scenario, Green will be playing for Germany, so I doubt many of us will care too much.

    • Robbie says:

      Your fixation with hating on the sons of American servicemen is so predictable… you could just post your name with no comment and your repetitive tired argument would just be implied without you having to take the time to type it. What gives you the right to judge another man’s connections, motivations and allegiances?

      • slowleftarm says:

        Thanks for responding to a comment I didn’t actually make. Your (and others) obsession with this issue is what’s predictable and tiresome.

    • John says:

      Bayern isn’t constently in search of it’s saviour. They have a lot of good players that split up the weight of that pressure.

      • slowleftarm says:

        That’s a good point, although I still feel like there isn’t the same level of pressure here as there is in Europe, especially for the biggest clubs.

    • away goals says:

      Here’s why I dont think there will be much pressure from germany for green to choose them:

      draxler 21
      gotze 22
      kroos 24
      gundogan 24
      schurrle 24
      muller 25
      bender 25
      reinartz 25
      ozil 26
      kruse 26

      By the time 2018 rolls around germany will have another list of 22-26 year olds this long. Green’s name won’t be missed if he chooses the usmnt.

      • slowleftarm says:

        If he’s good enough to start for Bayern Munich, wouldn’t he be as good as anyone on that list?

        • GW says:

          “wouldn’t he be as good as anyone on that list?”

          That’s not the point.

          The point is Germany will have a lot more competition for places than the USMNT is likely to.

          In the 2014 WC Germany will be leaving behind a lot of guys who would probably start for many other teams in the competition.

        • away goals says:

          Sure. But if germany lose a guy from that list, there is plenty of elite, champions league knockout talent left over. He has far less relative value over a replacement player.

          But imagine a similar 10 man list if, say, ozil were american. The relative cost of losing ozil would be massive:

          agudelo 21
          johannsson 23
          shea 23
          mix 23
          boyd 23
          corona 23
          altidore 24
          ozil 26
          bradley 26
          bedoya 26

      • Gerald says:

        Max Meyer – 17/18
        Timo Werner 17/18
        etc

    • Nate Dollars says:

      or, you know, no matter how good he gets, he might just really want to play for the usa for some CRAZY reason, almost like a patriotic sort of thing, who knows?

  4. A.S.A. says:

    MLS Purchases Chivas USA. Team will be re branded and resold in the coming months.

  5. Carlos Danger says:

    Here we go again.
    “He played two minutes for Bayern in the CL which makes him the best American player ever and the best in CONCACAF” and “his daddy hit it and quit it with a German woman which makes him as American as apple pie”

    • away goals says:

      I agree we need to take into account the duration of a father’s relationship with the mother for all potential usmnt players, nay, all potential united states citizens.

      First rule out any cases of artificial insemination, obviously. Then move on to one-night stands. Probably best to eliminate the offspring derived from unwanted pregnancies altogether.

      Only children of families that fit my very narrow view of what constitutes “america” should be considered eligible to wear the national team shirt. Please advise your congressional representatives as such.

  6. John says:

    Green does have the 2nd most goals in the 4th division. Bayern pretty much has the league won with a 16 point lead currently. It’ll be interesting to see if Green gets called up as Bayern can focus everything on Champions league. However if he’s getting first team minutes then the pressure from the other side will heat up. It’s a kind of tricky situation for Klinsmann.

  7. Mark says:

    I don’t think that Green is anything like Adu, but I would note that speedsters typically peak earlier than other players, can be more susceptible to injury throughout their career and they have to learn a new skill set while they are a pro or else their career will be shorter than average as it is pretty easy to lose that elite speed. Some, like Pele at the highest level or maybe Theo Walcott on a lower level have been able to sustain their careers by learning how to be a smarter player. Unless you are able to change the focus of your game from all out speed to a smarter approach, you will succumb to either the injury bug, teams figuring you out or loss of elite speed while others continue to play without as much negative impact to their game for longer.

    Having said that, he has a great manager to learn from in Pep Guardiola. He’s got a better shot than a lot of other players at making the transition to the pros than a lot of other guys.

    • John says:

      I think the point of the article isn’t they are simuliar players or not but just that US soccer fans need to calm down.

      • Mark says:

        Correct. And my point is that Green has, like most speedsters, peaked early and needs to develop into a completely different type of player if he wants to have a long career. I’m not saying that he can’t do it. Several players have. I am just getting into the specifics of what needs to happen for Green to have the kind of career that some are looking for. He also needs to become obsessive about avoiding injury (diet, fitness, etc.) as speedsters tend to be much more injury prone as an overall group than others.

        • John says:

          Personally i havent seen much of him, but where is this “speedster” title coming from?

        • whopp-whoop says:

          ” …Green has, like most speedsters, peaked early and needs to develop into a completely different type of player”

          LOL
          Wow this kid’s career is progressing fast…. he’s peaked already and already having to reinvent himself?!!!!

    • GW says:

      Mark,

      In everything I’ve read about Green while he is fast, it seems as if he is much more than just that.

      • Mark says:

        He is not that much more than that yet, but he has the opportunity to become much more than that if he continues to work hard and keep getting better. He has the right coach and he is in a big club that plays big games. The opportunity is there to get much, much better, but I have seen him play and to suggest that he is there already is to confuse his speed and work rate for his depth as a player. We all hope that he will get there. We all are rooting for him. I just think that we need to have a better understanding sometimes of the specifics of the challenges of becoming a good player when you break through early as a speedster. The process and the challenges are different. It doesn’t mean that he can’t do it – just that sometimes we look at fast guys breaking through early in their careers and assume that means that they are that much better than everybody else. Speed is a good tool but there are other challenges, like getting injured more easily, getting figured out by defenses more easily, or loosing the one tool that you have – elite speed – and being left with nothing, that other players aren’t as vulnerable to. Hopefully things will work out like we all want them to for him and he will play for us.

  8. DaM says:

    Aside from the nonsensical Adu comparison (green is 18 and on the border of a first team call up to the best team in the world… Adu was 14 and called up to… the best team in MLS… huh?), the unfortunate thing is if Green approaches the hype, I don’t think anyone believes he will play for the US. If he is a bust, then he is all ours! I guess our only real hope is he has a slow start at bayern, goes somewhere else and eventually develops. But it seems likely he isn’t filing a 1 time allegiance switch before the german team at least strings him along a bit more.

    • Austin from Austin says:

      +1

    • slowleftarm says:

      That’s interesting. When I post essentially the exact same thing, people flip out. If he’s as good as people hope, he isn’t going to be playing for the US. Of course, if you develop your own players, you don’t have that problem. Maybe someday.

      • Benjamin C> says:

        No MLS club has anything comparable to Bayern when it comes to resources to either develop or acquire players, and that includes money, public interest, coaches, media attention/marketing (the list can really go on and on).

        I would say the drop off is pretty remarkable between the big U.S. sports leagues (MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL) in that regard; you would compare Bayern to, say, top baseball organizations when it comes to identifying and grooming prospects. I suppose in roads are being made with Homegrown signings, but MLS will never crack the top 3 when it comes to sports leagues in this country, so I can literally never see its clubs developing players on par with what European organizations can produce.

        • slowleftarm says:

          You give up pretty easy. Look at how far MLS has come in just 18 years. In my opinion, soccer is already more popular than hockey, although MLS is not more popular than the NHL. I think most of us think a bit bigger and don’t accept the “soccer will always be a fringe sport” mentality you’re espousing.

          • Benjamin C. says:

            Maybe. I agree with you about MLS taking major strides since its creation. I also would love for MLS to be a Top 3 league in this country. But I also feel I am being realistic when I say that it is well down the road before an MLS franchise becomes ‘big time’ in terms of modern athletics. That includes TV coverage, drawing top athletic and coaching talent, etc. I am thinking a generation at least before that happens. Don’t mean to be doomsayer, but I am simply comparing the biggest MLS franchise (let’s just say the Galaxy) to the biggest franchises in the NBA, NFL, and MLB (where Man U, Bayern, Barcelona, the big European clubs are in terms of franchise power and recogniton). In other words: there is not real basis for comparison in the forseeable future.

          • GW says:

            Mr Slow,

            “You give up pretty easy. Look at how far MLS has come in just 18 years.”

            Leagues do not necessarily develop in a linear fashion. Sometimes they plateau for a while. There is no guarantee that for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, MLS will be producing EPL quality players in greater quantities than they do now. Player development can be a very inexact science. Ontario, California produced Landon Donovan in the late 90’s As far as I can tell the programs that produced LD haven’t come close to producing another player nearly as good since then.

            “In my opinion, soccer is already more popular than hockey, although MLS is not more popular than the NHL. “

            If by that you mean more kids play soccer that has been true for a very long time. For one thing a hockey rink is far more expensive than a soccer field and the expenses just get higher from there. But I don’t see where that helps soccer at all.

            “I think most of us think a bit bigger and don’t accept the “soccer will always be a fringe sport” mentality you’re espousing.”

            You want quantity; have you thought about quality?

            Soccer is a fringe sport only if you care about impressing those who do not like it.

            The Netherlands has 17 million people, about equivalent to the combined population of New Jersey and New York City.

            Ever since at least the 60’s they have produced enough top class players to have a national team that is a serious contender for every tournament they enter. And the majority of those players are all developed in the Netherlands. Interestingly, the best players always leave for bigger money abroad.

            The point is the US should be able to produce higher level players than they have now without having to replace the NFL, NBA, MLB and whatever else. We don’t need to take over the country. We just need better, more focused development programs tied more closely with MLS, which has been a latecomer to the idea of developing their own talent.

            This for me was always the bottleneck. American kids won’t focus that hard on a sport if they don’t think they can eventually develop a good living at it. 30k a year and sleeping on your buddy’s couch doesn’t really cut it.
            ,

            • Lost in Space says:

              The biggest Hindrance to player development in this country is the level of coaching youth players receive. As a child in the 80′s the majority of the coaches, even in select/travel, leagues were parents with little or no experience in the sport.
              With a healthy professional league having now been in existence for 18 years, there are a number of ex-players who are entering into the coaching. As this & MLS’s realization of the cost benefit of player development continues the youth player development in the US will improve. it may take another 20 years before MLS produces a high volume of quality players….but it will eventually happen as long as the league stays healthy.

          • whopp-whoop says:

            I agree. I also am optimistic and think that recent developments have been very positive and put us on the right track. Ultimately, in order to be competing at the top, we need to do so.

            That said, emphasizing improving development does not preclude the US from fielding the best eligible players available. In fact, I’d go so far as to say they are obligated to do so. The USMNT represents the nation and the best soccer playing US citizens, it does not merely represent nor is it subservient to our “development system.” Admittedly a poor/lazy comparison, but to point out an extreme case, though Messi was born with great innate talent, his development has by and large been a product of Barcelona at a young age… a Catalan product.

        • John says:

          I think the MLS could crack that top 3 in the next decade. The degraphics are more young people watch soccer and MLS. The biggest reason I believe is young people who grew up with the internet have a more and more global mindset and want a sport that reflects that.

      • GW says:

        What makes you think the US has not been trying really hard to develop a guy like Green for many years?

    • Nate Dollars says:

      or, as i told slowleftarm, he could just want to play for a certain country (even a shltty one like ours!), no matter how good he gets. i don’t understand this self-defeatist attitude going around (maybe just to lower expectations?); i know there are mercenaries, but we might want to just wait and see what the kid decides.

  9. Ian says:

    Julian Green will be a great addition to the USMNT (or Germany), but the narrative surrounding his development is nothing like Adu’s. Freddy Adu was essentially hailed as the second coming of Christ. He was going to shift the paradigm of what an American soccer player could be, blah blah blah. I haven’t heard anywhere near the same about of superlative fluff surround Green; only that he’s a big talent and he’s eligible to represent the Stars and Stripes.

    • Paul Miller says:

      Just a difference in environment. Green is a prospect, even for Bayern. But the country is chock full of prospects. This country isn’t. The better comparison would be between Green and one of our top college running backs. If that one running back got to the NFL and proved to be not so good at that level, there’s others standing in line to take his place. And the ones waiting in line are also pretty good – just not sure which one will end up being real good at evading the best tacklers on the planet. That’s the comparable situation with Green.

  10. Free beer says:

    Adu was thrust upon us as the American Pele … The sad part is the shipped has long ago sailed but some still think he’s talented and is ignored

  11. Lost in Space says:

    Adu is a cautionary tale for Fans not to over hype players and lable them a saviours. He’s also a cautionary tale for players who buy into the hype of fans. While US fans may be over hyping Green, I don’t think he’s buying into the Hype, or that his Teammates at Bayern Munich will let him get a swelled head.
    Everything I’ve read pertaining to Green has indicated that he is level headed and working diligently to realize the potential he has.
    Adu on the other hand not so much. He was given every opportunity to succeed, and has basically been run out of every club he’s signed with (10 in 10 yrs). He seems unable to take direction (work ethic, play defense, etc…). He may have all the tallent in the world, but if he’s not willing to work on the holes in his game, than no team will want him.
    I wish them both the best. But believe the envioronment and people Green has around him will keep him from becoming Adu 2.0.

    • Josh D says:

      You can’t blame the fans for Adu. The blame is squarely at the knees of MLS, DC United, and journalists who gave him a crown before he stepped on the field. They were the ones who were so desperate for Adu to get on the field, regardless of his well-being, that they stunted his growth and inflated his ego. He had a BMW sponsorship before he could drive. The fans followed the hype; they did not create it.

      MLS has since learned it’s lesson.

      • GW says:

        The ones most responsible for Adu’s “failure” are his management.

        I don’t know if that is an agency, a single person, or his family, or Freddy himself or a combination of all of the above.

        Whatever the truth is, his entire career was all about making as much money as quickly as possible.

        Someone should have been looking out for Freddy’s best interests in the long term and it does not look like anyone was.

        Green, on the other hand, appears to have people looking out for him.

      • Nate Dollars says:

        +1

        one of several reasons that i always defend novak is that he tried to take a more reasonable approach with freddy (not start him all the time).

      • JoeW says:

        Nope.

        1. Adu is responsible. If MLS had not stepped in, he likely would have looked to sign with an overseas club.

        2. His advisors and managers didn’t help things either.

        3. Adu has been out of MLS for a while now, been with plenty of clubs and just hasn’t developed. That’s b/c he won’t work on his game and there is no position in modern soccer that is a fit for him (not even A-mid/#10 b/c he won’t show for the ball and drifts in and out of matches). This is not a case of a player who was traumatized at an early age. Or injured early with bad knees and his career ruined. This is about a player who has never done the work to improve his game and despite being in a bunch of different situations and environments and playing styles, has never found one that is a fit.

  12. Pep Guardiola says:

    I’ll keep Julian in check and develop him the right way!!

  13. TomG says:

    Usually on the same page as Ives, but not sure I see any comparison here, other than the fact that they are/were both highly touted prospects. Freddie came up through an MLS that had no real development system, while JG is in one of the best systems in the world. Freddie’s path and background was very unusual while JG’s is proven. Freddie had overinflated expectations that led to issues with managers and playing time from the very start while JG hasn’t had any issues like that that I’ve heard of and is getting steady playing time. Freddie’s lack of tools has also been exposed. I would think that Julian must have pretty good tools or he wouldn’t be so heavily promoted by Bayern (though I’m just guessing. I don’t know if he’s fast or not. I haven’t seen him nearly enough.

    Ives’ point that that he’s an unproven prospect is true. We don’t know if he will keep improving and fulfill his potential or just be another in a long line of failed prospects. I’m just not really feeling the whole Freddie frame of reference because Freddie’s journey has been so unusual. It’s tough to compare him to anyone.

    This is not to say

    • away goals says:

      I think the comparison was a pretty bald attempt to generate traffic.

      In one convenient comment section you’re guaranteed discussions on:

      adu is the most skilled player in usmnt history
      adu was terrible for every team he’s played for
      the 2011 gold cup tho
      nuh-uh
      yes-huh
      green not american enough
      what does it mean to be american anyway?
      mcbride or wynalda?

    • Thebumswillalwayslose says:

      I’m with you on this one. Nothing but respect for Ives and all the writers here for their great work, but I think this is a bit of a stretch.

      Green does need to make sure the hype doesn’t get to him and that he keeps working hard. And we as US fans do need to slow our collective roll a bit on him, but that’s about where it stops.

      When people hype Julian Green, it’s usually to the tune of “if he switches, he should get a roster spot for Brazil, he’s in Bayern Munich’s first team!” And that hype is coming from an even smaller portion of the already small number of USMNT fans who know who he actually is. Contrast that with Freddy in the mid-2000′s. His hype? It was coming from Nike, Coca-Cola and some guy named Pele. And it wasn’t about the 23rd roster spot for the World Cup, the hype was that Freddy was going to be the savior of US soccer, the face of the sport and the poster boy for MLS (a league desperate for any kind of relevance at the time).

      Julian has Pep Guardiola, Schweinsteiger, Robben, Ribery, Lahm and the Bayern machine to keep him in line. He’s just another talented kid. Freddy? He was the highest paid player on his team and the league’s best hope for national relevance before he could drive himself to practice. I guess he had Ben Olsen though…

      Cliffs: The hype around Julian Green is a whisper next to the thunderstorm that was Freddy Adu circa 2004.

      • MLS_Soccer_Talker says:

        Totally agree. Adu was HYPED!! This comparrison is hyperbolic in nature. Adu was so hyped that non-soccer/MLS fans knew and/or know aboout him. I am positive that only soccer nerds who are reguarly following the USMNT, like myself, know about Green. No one has said a peep in mainstream media about Green. Totally different.

  14. John says:

    Has anyone heard of Fabian Hurzeler? 20 year old American that was at Bayern II a couple years ago, Currently at Hoffenhiem II.

    • John says:

      i’ve been on soccerway too much looking at previous Bayern II players haha

    • Lost in Space says:

      Yes, many of us have heard of him, and could hear from him again in the future. He spent some time with Rogan’s U-20 team (Gyau, Pelosi, Gil, group), but was not available for the qualification tournament. Was promoted as a talented # 10 type prospect.

  15. Dan says:

    Someone make sure and notify me when Adu makes a UEFA champions’ league appearance.

  16. Dennis says:

    There is still no good way to predict which teenager will continue to improve and flourish as a professional player. If anyone finds a way to make that identification reliably, Bayern, Ajax, Man U, Liverpool, and even Barcelona (who do a better job than most at this than most) will offer you a lot of money for your secret.

    The fact that Adu was expected to be better than he has turned out so far is really not that surprising. I do think it is more common for an athletically gifted player to be faced with higher expectations than is warranted while players who rely more on soccer intelligence but display less than flashy skills often manage to do better than was expected of them when they were younger.

    Still Green and Adu both are good players whether either will ever be the star the hype would have us believe comes under the heading of predicting the future and if you know anyone who can do that, well good luck!

    • Jovins says:

      By 18 or 19 the top players are already starting to separate themselves. Even the top prospects that “fail” tend to find their way to other professional teams – look at someone like Spector. He was never as good a prospect as Green, and he clearly didn’t develop, but he still has had a long and pretty successful career in the top two divisions in England.

      That’s different than a 14 year old player who has some skill. Players that young are still way too far away from the finished product.

      But by 18, if a player isn’t on the fringes of the first team he’s probably not going to be, no matter how talented they are. And if they are on the fringes of the first team, they’ll find their way onto a team in some top division.

      Basically, worst case scenario (barring injury) is that Julian Green ends up having a long and successful career on some mid to low-level team in one of Europe’s top leagues. That’s pretty good, and that’s why American fans are so excited about him. His 10th percentile career projection is STILL good enough to have him be in the discussion for caps, and if he reaches 90th percentile career projection he’ll undoubtedly have the best career of any US player.

      • Paul Miller says:

        Well said.

      • Dennis says:

        Of course good players at 18 who are getting looks by the top teams are good players even if they never improve, whether or not they will improve is what is unknown. Sometimes injury has a lot to do with it, sometimes an early maturing kid can ride that strength for a while and fade, sometimes the player just continues to grow. Sometimes it is just go figure. Green being good enough to get some minutes with Bayern does indeed put him in the conversation for a US spot, but unless he improves (and I am not saying he won’t), maybe not so much.

  17. Brain Guy says:

    Yeah, besides clear differences in age, ability, preparation, club environment, and reward-to-actual-production ratio, these guys are eerily similar.

  18. Mike R says:

    Hes gonna play for Germany so it doesnt really matter anyway.
    Adu took the imagination of US soccer minds cause he had loads of technical ability which even today most MLS players lack and US soccer minds had never seen stateside.

  19. Soccer Blood says:

    Freddy was never that young kid sensation that all the media went gaga over. Sorry he is /was a fraud from the get go. Throw in his arrogance and he was doomed to fail.Sad because he has enormous talent but we have an an expression ” We have to be humble before we become a real man. ” So Landon K you are right on the money I am also from Africa. . Another item to consider parts of Africa have “diff” calendars to us ,,meaning it is not a year until the summer rains and sometimes those rains give way to drought Therefore a so called 14 year old may well be 16 1/2 by the time his “15″ Birhday rolls around. T^hat’s a fact in Africa friend.

  20. Birgit Calhoun says:

    Any comparison aside, Freddy Adu was over-hyped, and now Julian Greenis bing over-hyped.especially by people who do not really have the experience to know what happens to players who have been over-hyped and then go into a slump. There is a lot of depression among players who suddenly lose their touch. As I see, it Adu seemed older to me when I first watched him being intereviewed. But that aside. He had really good ball-handling skills. However, I didnt think he had really good strategic sills. Julian Green is very good both in ball handling and in strategic skill, That doesn’t mean that he is mature enough to leave the security that the German league system provides. Putting someone like him on a pedestal could spoil him for future greatness. I can’t say that having played a few games in public really captures the whole picture.

    Freddy Adu could not live up to his expectation, so he went from one team to another finally finding himself not knowing exactly where he will be next year. Julian Green has a good thing going now. But will he always have that? Who knows? He should be given a lot of leeway.

  21. MetroChris says:

    i like Ives but this is a ridiculous comparison. Adu was 14 and playing for DC United. Green is 18 and playing for BAYERN MUNICH!!!

  22. dude1 says:

    Freddy was once Green’s age. That’s about the end of it.

    Adu was expected to be the US Pele no matter where he started out his play (DC United), and was continually touted as the best the US system had produced, including Donovan. There was no ceiling, and no end to the crushing hype.

    Julian Green is a dual national that we would love to have choose the US, as a great prospect who is actually valued by Bayern Munich. We don’t need Julian Green to be the next Freddy Adu, but we’d love him to be another wing prospect, as he looks to have a lot of potential. Ives is also underestimating the detachment that US fans naturally feel to most dual nationals, the general reaction will be seeing how he fits in our squad, how he shows himself. That’s a far cry from “he’s too awesome, he just beat Pele in a staged Sprint ad!”

    • dude1 says:

      Sprite ad.

      I’d love to see this guy join up, it’s good to have as many prospects as possible, and he’s an alluring prospect.

    • Birgit Calhoun says:

      Yes, I agree, and I think US fans become greater fans when they see more home-grown players. In my opinion US players feel inferior when younger players coming out of the blue all of a sudden show up and want to be Americans when they see the USMNT’s stock is on the upswing. Americans love their MLS teams, and that needs to be nurtured.

  23. Jake says:

    This article is good at hitting on points that will enrage readers like hyping a player and anything about the failures of Freddy Adu so its clear why it was written. The two players’ situations are different in so many ways that a comparison isn’t relevant. I hope Julian Green decides to play for the US, but even if he does, I highly highly doubt Adu will ever be good enough to get a shot at the US national team again.

    • BrianK says:

      Agreed. I do not see how these situations are comparable.

      For what it is worth,…I have always believed and will continue to believe that Adu is 2-3 years older than his immigration records reflect. It makes sense. His mother had reason for shaving a few years off his age when coming to the United States,…and obviously it worked out well for Freddy in the short-term. Why wouldn’t she want to give her son an advantage coming to a new country,…not initially for soccer but for educational advantages.

  24. Reed says:

    this is ridiculous. for shame!

  25. beto says:

    read the article, don’t really see the parallel.

    i guess you could say this about any and every big prospect that crazy USA fans put the future of the nation on but Green’s and Adu’s situations are nothing a like.

    best line of the comparison is “Nobody at Bayern is calling Green the next anybody, nor are there marketing campaigns being drawn up to make him larger than life.”

    I guess its just the title I don’t get.. maybe it should be “Why Green is more likely to succeed than Adu”

    lets just hope that MLS gets another top prospect some time and doesn’t f— it up!

  26. Matt says:

    It is really ALL ABOUT HIS PARENTS…..if he has and has had strong parents who keep him grounded, then they will likely weigh more heavily than the “world soccer hype machine” of fans, agents, media, coaches, etc……who built up Adu.

    Adu believed his own hype and still does. He was NEVER “coachable”….and failed to progress as other players improved and grew up, and then they passed him by.
    His parents may very well have been overwhelmed by onslaught of people fawning over their child and forgot their role and need to be strong parents who could influence Freddy.

    If your parents can’t tell you that you are screwed up…..who can??

    • Frank says:

      Julian Green`s mother is probably doing everything she can to keep her son level headed. while her American ex-husband tries to hype him in the American media.

      Funnily, Julian`s father gets applauded for that.

  27. stargate1 says:

    Can’t really compare them because they are from different countries and environment. Green is being groomed in Germany, a mad house of soccer. Adu grew up here, a mad house of football.

    We develop soccer players by accidents, seriously. Gifted kids only play soccer when they are really young and w/o much help from coaches, schools etc…

  28. Brett says:

    When was Adu ever a player “fans couldn’t get enough of”? I remember when he broke out, and the whole thing reeked of a publicity stunt. I was annoyed at how quickly the press rushed to anoint him. I truly never saw what made him any better than hundreds of other players coming up through the ranks. He had flashes of skill but nothing superhuman. Sure, he seemed a little beyond his years at 14-16, which makes sense considering his birth records have probably been falsified, but most of the “buzz” around him was entirely media driven until the 2007 U20 Cup, where he finally seemed to be growing into a legitimate player. And we all know what has happened since…

    • Brett says:

      Julian’s situation is entirely different, barely comparable even.

      While Adu trained in inferior African leagues and American youth programs to “separate” himself, Julian came up through the ranks in workman’s style at a club known for its strong developmental programs. He was not anointed as a pre-teen as Freddy was, nor was he given the spotlight and endorsements Adu fell into, that usually must be earned through years of consistent play.

      He’s simply a prospect who has developed in a proven system, and the excitement surrounding him naturally comes only from the fact that our player pool will be stronger with his inclusion. There’s no celebrity push in his case, no pressure to be “the next Pele” or whatever other lame designation the press wants to come up with.

  29. Ian Woodville says:

    Another slow day, so another Adu story. A few home truths. First and foremost, there’s no point in blaming someone for the way they are portrayed in the media. Most sports writers are lazy and stupid and when they write nonsense about someone, you should ignore it. If you think Adu was over-hyped blame the media or MLS not Adu.
    Second, the soccer world is full of players like Adu. Getting regular time on the field with a good club is difficult. Successful soccer teams require fitting together the right 11 players.Perfectly wonderful players some times don’t fit into a particular club. It’s not really a reflection of their ability, character or whatever.
    Young players need lots of time on the field, particularly in an environment where they can make mistakes. Players who don’t get extended playing time don’t develop quickly or at all.
    Finally players like Adu are something of a luxury in contemporary soccer. Creative, technical players who are not superb athletes and are better on offense than on defense don’t fit into today’s tactics very well. If Mata can’t get on the field for Chelsea or if Ozil is taking a lot of grief at Arsenal, then how much harder is it for Adu who is not really up to their standard?
    For a story that parallels Adu’s, check the recent news about John Bostock, a player once thought very promising in England, who has recently moved to a smaller club on the continent.

    • Brett says:

      Forgive me, but is the gist of this post “Let’s take it easy on Freddy because he’s not that good”?

      This was supposed to be our next talisman, the true successor to Donovan (I became a big Dempsey fan after he entrenched himself at Fulham, but he was never filling those boots).

      • Ian Woodville says:

        this is probably a waste of time but… Adu never said he was going to be the greatest US player, that was sports writers and MLS publicists. Therefore there is little point in dumping on Adu because he has not become a world class player. If that were the criterion, we could criticize virtually every American player.
        Dempsey is a good player, but he prospered at Fulham because he fit with their style and the rest of their players. The same was true when Donovan played on loan at Everton. If the two had switched teams and Donovan played for Fulham and Dempsey for Everton, I doubt that either would have had the same success. Doing well at a particular club reflects more than an individual players’ ability, mindset, character or whatever else he brings to the game.

  30. Cool Hand Luke says:

    Getting a wee bit bored with consistent “preach restraint” approach of SBI

  31. Remy says:

    The difference is that Julian Green already plays, though not on any regular basis, for, arguably, the best team in the world and he has a great manager in Pep Guardiola. Pep will let him develop at the proper pace and will not place any undue expectations on the lad. In addition to that, Freddy Adu has personality and commitment issues. I don’t see a great lot of similarity between the two.