Without Further Adu
I chanced upon his story on MTV's Fake ID Club while channel surfing. They should make a movie of it because of the incredible rags to riches twist. They showcased how Freddy has just become the highest-paid player in American pro soccer (getting a whopping $500,000 a year) at the very tender age of 14. He currently plays for D.C. United and just inked a $1 million contract with Nike and another similar endorsement deal with Pepsi where he got to appear in a commercial with the legendary Pele. Another admirable thing about Freddy is how he was able to complete an accelerated academic program for athletes in Florida that allowed him to finish high school at 14 WHILE playing in the professional league. And just last week, he added another feather to his cap by having the honor of being the youngest player ever to participate in the All-Star game of any professional sport. Fast forward two more years and he'll just be 17 when the World Cup rolls around. Inconceivable!
What got me to sit up and take notice, though, was how he seemed to be so humble and self-effacing. At this stage, he hasn't (yet) let all the hoopla go to his head as he gives his mom all the praise for raising him well. Imagine how a simple visa lottery at the US Embassy in their native Ghana which his parents entered changed their lives forever. They beat out more than a million other hopefuls for a chance at making it in America and boy, did it pay off! Only sad thing is that his father just upped and abandoned the family one day and his mom had no choice but to take on two jobs just to make ends meet. She also deserves kudos for having rejected an Italian team's offer of $750,000 to let Freddy play for them back when he was 10. His father never contacted them since he left but I have a feeling he may already be bashing his head against a wall for his error in judgement and will try to get in touch soon...
I truly hope he continues his journey on the straight and narrow. So many like him have wilted under the pressure of the world's eyes constantly being upon them and succumbed to the lure of champagne wishes and caviar dreams, becoming has-beens before fulfilling their potentials. How daunting it must be to be heralded as the next sporting superstar.
Read more about this wunderkid: CBS News and Soccerphile