American Prodigy - The Freddy Adu Story

By Blue Wire

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He was an American prodigy. The next Pelé. The savior of U.S. soccer. But he wasn't even old enough to drive. In 2004, Freddy Adu joined MLS at 14 years old, becoming the youngest American pro team sport athlete in 100 years. His story is a tale of talent, money, fame and fútbol. Journalist Grant Wahl, who covered Freddy and LeBron James in their teens, retraces the legend of Freddy as he went from superstar to one of the biggest "what ifs," asking: What determines who "makes it" and who "doesn't"? And what does it say about our cultural obsession with the potential of young athletic genius?

Episode Date
Part 2: The Freddy Adu Show
Freddy stepped off the stage of his introductory MLS press conference and right onto The Late Show with David Letterman. Before Adu had even played a pro game, MLS promoted its fresh-faced teen superstar with commercials alongside Pelé, feature stories and magazine covers in order to save a league in desperate financial straits. Freddy Mania put butts in the seats for the 2004 season, but it also set expectations unbelievably high. No one even knew if he was going to start games. Grant Wahl watched the pressure mount, wondering: “Can Freddy handle the hype?” Brought to you by Fanatiz.
Nov 24, 2020
Part 1: The Legend of Freddy Adu

In the streets of Ghana, Freddy played with boys twice his age. In the D.C. suburbs, Freddy went from playing at recess to dominating travel tournaments all within a week. Just six months into his stay at the U.S. Under-17 residency program in Florida, Freddy was at the top of the class. He had teams in England, Italy, Spain and the U.S. salivating as they waited for him to turn pro. That was before he dominated the FIFA Under-17 World Championship. Grant Wahl, who'd covered LeBron and Freddy in their teens, knew it was time for Freddy to sign, but where?


Brought to you by Fanatiz.

Nov 17, 2020
Preview: Finding Freddy
When Nike signed thirteen-year-old Freddy Adu to a million dollar contract, they thought he could be bigger than Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, and LeBron James. As it turned out, however, Freddy never lived up to the hype. Soccer journalist Grant Wahl investigates the impossible expectations that were placed on the teenager, and discusses with Freddy just how much of the blame lies on the media, MLS, and Freddy himself.
Nov 12, 2020
Introducing American Prodigy: Freddy Adu
American Prodigy Freddy Adu was supposed to be the next Pelé, a generational talent to lift U.S. soccer onto the global stage. Then, he didn’t. Soccer journalist Grant Wahl traces Freddy’s legend to determine who “makes it,” who “doesn’t,” and what it says about us. Launches November 17th.
Oct 08, 2020