Wed, Mar 21st 2012, 22:05
Freddy Adu is used to having the spotlight, even though his veteran role on the U.S. men’s soccer team is something new.
“Freddy, how do you feel being (named) captain?” asked teammate Brek Shea, posing as a reporter and breaking news that hadn’t yet been announced on Tuesday before the team’s practice at Lipscomb University where it is preparing for Thursday’s match at LP Field against Cuba.
Adu gave a belly laugh.
“Seriously,” Shea continued.
“Get out of here,” said Adu, still laughing.
Then Adu continued talking to reporters about what it’s like being a veteran, something very different for someone who has spent his entire career as a much-hyped, up-and-comer. Adu became the youngest player in Major League Soccer history in 2004 at age 14 with D.C. United.
The 22-year-old midfielder — the only returnee from the 2008 Beijing Olympic team — will lead the U.S. in Thursday’s match, the first of three Olympic qualifying matches in Nashville.
“It’s kind of weird to say the word veteran,” said Adu, who logged 170 minutes in Beijing. “But it’s also nice to definitely be one of the quote-unquote leaders, and hopefully lead this team to the Olympics.
“It’s different. I’ve always been one of the youngest guys, if not the youngest guy on all the teams I’ve been on so far. This is actually my age group (all 23 and under).
“It’s definitely a different responsibility. Being the captain of the team, a lot of guys look up to you and they look to you to lead. You have to do it by example. I’m really, really excited to hopefully lead this team to qualify for the Olympics.”
In 2008, Adu scored two goals in the U.S.’s 3-0 win over Canada at LP Field, which clinched the U.S. team’s berth in the Beijing Olympics.