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Wednesday Kickaround

[Note to Insider loyalists: Technical issues throughout The Post's system prevented this item from being published at its scheduled time and blocked reader comments for several hours on the entire blog. Operations have returned to normal.]

*My full story about Curt Onalfo's introduction as D.C. United head coach.

*Freddy Adu's next temporary stop is Greek club Aris, where he will join fellow USA journeyman Eddie Johnson. Adu wrote on Twitter: "Alright guys done deal. Signed an 18-month loan deal with Aris FC. A lot of thought and research went into this. Thanks for the support." Given Adu's fading future, what "thought and research" was involved in this move?

*Landon Donovan is revved up for his loan at Everton. His first possible appearance: Saturday at Arsenal.

*The Red Bulls say farewell to midfielder Jorge Rojas and welcome Costa Rican Roy Miller.

*USA training camp is under way at Home Depot Center.

*Brazil's government slashes the budget for the 2014 World Cup ... by ONE BILLION DOLLARS. Uh-oh.

*Mexican club Cruz Azul is apparently interested in former DCU forward Nicholas Addlery, now with second-division Puerto Rico. A transfer fee is holding up the proposed deal, I'm told.

*Remember David Stokes, the 2003 first-round draft pick by DCU who spent four years with the club? He has joined the coaching staff at third-division Real Maryland and will initially assist with the club's youth system.

*Former DCU prospect Ryan Miller signed a three-year guaranteed contract with Halmstad in Sweden's top division, his U.S.-based agent told the Insider.

By Steve Goff  |  January 6, 2010; 9:47 AM ET
Categories:  Americans Abroad , Brazil , Costa Rica , D.C. United , England , MLS , Mexico , Sweden , U.S. men's national team , USL  
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Next: MLS-FIFA, Adu, Beckham, Dallas

Comments

It's nice that Adu is remaining (or appearing) optimistic, but you've gotta wonder how he's managed to destroy his career. Presumably it's a failure of effort, rather than a failure of talent, as less talented Americans have thrived overseas. But if the past several demotions haven't gotten that through to him, it's hard to see why this move will be any different.

Posted by: asfoolasiam | January 6, 2010 1:03 PM | Report abuse

You wonder about the "thought and research." I wonder what "support" anyone is giving him. Does anyone really care about Freddy any more?

Posted by: Senor_Funk | January 6, 2010 1:11 PM | Report abuse

I think given the easy and more high-profile loan deal would have been to Hull he probably did really research and focus on what was best for improving his game. He went to the much less glamorous choice but a place he would potentionally able to improve his game

Posted by: Shanoni | January 6, 2010 1:14 PM | Report abuse

I suppose you guys take a new job without thinking about it or doing any research on your prospective employer and comparing that aainst other prospective employer(s).

Posted by: Ron16 | January 6, 2010 1:17 PM | Report abuse

He had no other prospective employers.

Without the ability to obtain a British work permit, Hull City was a fantasy.

Posted by: Steve Goff | January 6, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Good for Adu. This not working? We'll be saying Freddy who.

The Brazil thing is inexcusable. If they fall on their asses, I'm not even sure Fifa would do the right thing and move it to the US.

Posted by: UnitedDemon | January 6, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

I still care about Freddy because I want to see Americans do well abroad, especially former DCU players despite how others might feel on the subject. That being said, this is his last chance to make a name for himself as a player, rather than a (pseudo)celebrity.

Posted by: ol-brob | January 6, 2010 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Another former MLS prospect signs in Scandinavia? We're doomed, I tell you. Doomed. How can MLS survive without these players?

Posted by: very_clever_username | January 6, 2010 1:32 PM | Report abuse

I'm not sure I understand the Adu deal. It is an 18 month loan, but I thought he only had 18 months left on the contract anyway. If Aris did not buy the contract, does that mean Benfica has the right to pull him back if they so desire?

If he plays out the contract and can go on a free transfer, I'd bet there are plenty of clubs that would sign him. He just needs to make better choices about clubs that really want him.

Posted by: troy6 | January 6, 2010 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Given Adu's fading future, what "thought and research" was involved in this move?

-------------------------

They have some good Gentlemen's Clubs in the area! Hopefully Freddy has seen Crocodile Dundee and knows what to test.

Posted by: Verrazzano | January 6, 2010 1:33 PM | Report abuse

regarding a previous post about Onalfo buying a round for the house:

If Onalfo bought a round for the crowd at Black Finn, it would have wiped out his signing bonus. The place was packed. Perhaps later on, when only a few folks were left he might have done so, but I sure didn't get any free drinks. My son got a free orange juice, but that was courtesy of the waitress who was surprised to see a seven year old at happy hour.

Posted by: troy6 | January 6, 2010 1:36 PM | Report abuse

I did think that DCU let Miller go too easily. He showed potential. Obviously, a year in Sweden has done him some good. Hard to imagine Addlery being wanted by a top Mexican club. On the other hand, I'd much rather still have him in the DCU fold than N'Silu. Probably even ahead of Khumalo and Shipilane. I guess Nick really impressed in the CCL games.

I think Freddy and EJ are well aware of how crucial this stop will be to their future. They've got a terrific coach, and are on a team that is in line for a Europa League slot. That could mean a fair amount of quality playing time, even as they are establishing themselves there.

Posted by: fischy | January 6, 2010 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Adu's only 20 or 21 right? I wouldn't write him off just yet. I wouldn't have paid him a gazillion dollars as a teenager either, or put him in commercials with Pele when he was 15. But there's probably a middle ground. Dempsey didn't move to EPL until he was 23 or 24 right?

Posted by: OWNTF | January 6, 2010 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Why doesn't any US soccer journalist actually try to get at the bottom of Freddy's trials and tribulations in Europe? Wouldn't that make a great story? Then we could put the hearsay and rumor to rest and move on.

Posted by: bs2004 | January 6, 2010 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Well, if Greece doesn't work out, Freddy should swallow his pride, take less money, and come back to MLS. It has worked for Landon Donovan, in spite of having to listen to years of people mocking him. Adu could go to the Galaxy, and have Bruce Arena straighten him out. Or Philly, where he could be reunited with his favorite coach, Peter Nowak (latter suggestion a joke, former is not.) Donovan has become arguably the best US male player in history in MLS. Freddy could give it a try.

Posted by: macheath | January 6, 2010 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Why doesn't any US soccer journalist actually try to get at the bottom of Freddy's trials and tribulations in Europe?
-------------------------------------
Money, language, (relative) lack of interest. To do a decent story you'd actually have to visit Lisbon and Monaco - nice places for a holiday but I don't see anyone paying a journalist to go there, especially in these economic times.

Funnily enough the BBC came closest to doing the kind of story you are looking for (http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/chrisbevan/2009/11/freddy_adu_footballs_forgotten.html) but they weren't even able to get a phone interview with Adu - he responded by fax to their questions.

Posted by: newxgate1 | January 6, 2010 2:05 PM | Report abuse

man, when Goff gets snarky at people like that it is such a bummer and unprofessional.

Posted by: joe_hill | January 6, 2010 2:08 PM | Report abuse

I think Goff does a great job feeding the information cravings of US soccer fans. That being said I would REALLY like to know what is going on with Captain America - Carlos Bocanegra - at Rennes. He hasn't played in a month.

Posted by: hoyanick1 | January 6, 2010 2:20 PM | Report abuse

@joe_hill

Its a blog, have you ever read a blog before? That barely qualifies as snark in my book.

Posted by: rockotodd | January 6, 2010 2:21 PM | Report abuse

I'm missing how that's snarky, he commented straight up and factually.

Posted by: eadc | January 6, 2010 2:28 PM | Report abuse

joe_hill might be laying down a little sarcasm rocko...
I personally enjoy seeing Steve continue the conversation when he feels like it.

Thanks for the belated update Goff. Guess your twitter is good for something...;)

Posted by: DadRyan | January 6, 2010 2:30 PM | Report abuse

oops

Posted by: rockotodd | January 6, 2010 2:35 PM | Report abuse

I'm with you, joe. That's two posts in a row taking a swipe at Adu.

Posted by: Reignking | January 6, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Dear Washington Post editors,

We, the loyal Soccer Insiders, do respectfully demand that you send Mr. Goff to Lisbon, Monaco, and Thessaloniki to uncover the secrets of the Adu deal, to Rennes to find out what is happening with Bocanegra, and, while we're at it, to Munich to catch up with the Junior Bradley and Milan to find out why Gooch's team administrators are so silly.

Perhaps he could do this in March, so he could cover the Algarve Cup?

We also suggest you send Troy6 along as aide de camp, batman, translator, or chief cook and bottle washer.

Sincerely,
Insider Readership

Posted by: troy6 | January 6, 2010 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Nope, I wasn't being sarcastic. I don't have a problem with commenters being sarcastic, or if this was some random blog of some fan going off on a player. But a journalist for the Washington Post should not be slagging on a player like that.

How many times have you guys heard Goff go on about how he isn't allowed to be a fan of DC United because he's a "journalist" and it would be against his ethics to root for the team or hope that one day they get a stadium? Yet it's ok to take digs at a player?

Posted by: joe_hill | January 6, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Why would you send someone to Milan? That's cruel.

Posted by: Reignking | January 6, 2010 2:50 PM | Report abuse

I am with you too Joe...Goff fails to address that Adu's career misadventures are a direct result of DC United's inability to give the teenager any kind of support whatsoever. DC United also royally screwed up career of Santino Quaranta as well..Simply put, DC United could somewhat identify talent, but they simply did not have the infrastructure to develop it...

Greece is a solid, watchable league...I am sure Freddy will turn it around there. Playing time is what he needs now and hopefully he will finally get it. Good luck to him!

Posted by: alan19 | January 6, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

The anti-Adu sentiment boggles my mind. Why? Because he wasn't a league MVP at age 14? Because he was over-hyped by clueless sponsors and media and a greedy league? Come on, folks. Not only is he a United alumnus, but he was also raised and developed a as a player locally. Why do people refuse to root for the kid and revel when things don't go his way?

Posted by: Atlanta4MLS | January 6, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

joe it's unprofessional to become a fanboy of the club you are covering for your beat, but hardly for criticizing an obviously polarizing figure in World Football. You are taking it as a dig, but do you take it as a dig when Steve pokes fun at Maradona?

Posted by: DadRyan | January 6, 2010 3:02 PM | Report abuse

career misadventures are a direct result of DC United's inability to give the teenager any kind of support whatsoever
===============
That's a bit of a stretch.

Posted by: OWNTF | January 6, 2010 3:07 PM | Report abuse

Who's responsibility is it to take care of these "kids"? Is it really the Club? The Club employs them to do a JOB. As much as we'd all like to believe it's a family, it's still a sports team designed to make money. Not raise men. That's a parent's responsibility.

Posted by: DadRyan | January 6, 2010 3:08 PM | Report abuse

I rescind my "oops" and restate that it wasn't that snarky.

Blaming Freddy's "problems" on DC United is way over-egging the pudding. He has been with what, 4 clubs now since DC United?

FIRST OVER-EGGING THE PUDDING OF THE NEW YEAR.

Posted by: rockotodd | January 6, 2010 3:16 PM | Report abuse

I'm not going to blame Adu's situation, and who knows what goes on in the locker room or practice field, but it's pretty clear that Adu ended up in two awful loan situations after he was by all accounts looking pretty good in the minutes he was getting with Benfica two years ago. The coach at Monaco resented being stuck with a player that the owner wanted brought in, and who knows what the problem with Belenenses' coach was, but it was enough that another Benfica loanee with no playing time spoke up about it and ended up with a canceled loan.

And I do think that Adu should be held to a different standard than Maradona - he's a DC United alum, is from the area, and Goff apparently IM's with him from time to time to get news (as of a few months ago anyways).

I am not opposed to Goff having a sense of humor but when it goes negative that is just unseemly and unprofessional. If I wanted reporting that revealed a personal dislike towards a player then I'd just stick with reading bigsoccer or something.

Posted by: joe_hill | January 6, 2010 3:18 PM | Report abuse

oops meant to say "I'm not going to blame Adu's situation on DC United..."

Posted by: joe_hill | January 6, 2010 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Given all the transfer activity this time of year and the discussion about what the role of the club should be in grooming players, I strongly encourage all soccer fans to read a new book out by Simon Kuper (soccer journalist) and Stefan Szymanski (economist), Soccernomics. I'm about half way through and it is fascinating.

http://www.amazon.com/Soccernomics-Australia-Turkey-Iraq-Are-Destined/dp/1568584253

Posted by: FrancoNiell | January 6, 2010 3:40 PM | Report abuse

I'm playing FM10, instead, Franco. Taking Benidorm to the top!

Posted by: Reignking | January 6, 2010 3:43 PM | Report abuse

+1 for what FrancoNiell said. Soccernomics is a fantastic book that I strongly recommend to everyone this blog.

There is even a good chapter in there about the use of 'transition experts' to help players get settled in foreign countries.

Posted by: isaac101 | January 6, 2010 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Its too bad for addlery, he had potential at a slower paced, more techincal league, like the USL is, comapred to MLS.

In mexico with its slower pace he should do well,he has the tools! I hope all goes well and he goes there.

Posted by: BolivianDCFan | January 6, 2010 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Soooooo..... where do you think Dempsey will end up probably after SA 2010???

Given his recent and incredibly good form for fulham, constantly being one of their main stars, and after this goal.... I am sure some decent sized clubs will be interested in his service, and can be the FIRST real american to have merit on moving to a BIG club.

Posted by: BolivianDCFan | January 6, 2010 3:56 PM | Report abuse

"I am not opposed to Goff having a sense of humor but when it goes negative that is just unseemly and unprofessional"

I don't disagree with the sentiment, as the ever blurring line between journalist and commentator ticks me off. I do, however disagree with the idea that this particular statement was negative or unprofessional.

A) Hull City was impossible b/c of work permit issues.
B) Is it b/c he chose to use "fantasy" that you think it's unprofessional?
C) If B, then whoop de whoop.

Posted by: delantero | January 6, 2010 3:59 PM | Report abuse

I'm with the little guy FN. I am also about halfway through Soccernomics and it is a great read. It is a cross between Freakonomics and Moneyball (and desperately hoping for the commercial success of either).

It is a great study in the colossal errors committed by supposedly rational clubs.

Posted by: troy6 | January 6, 2010 4:00 PM | Report abuse

"Who's responsibility is it to take care of these "kids"? Is it really the Club? The Club employs them to do a JOB. As much as we'd all like to believe it's a family, it's still a sports team designed to make money. Not raise men. That's a parent's responsibility "

--Yeah, well, but -- when they hire a minor, I think they may have more responsibility. I'm not saying they did or did not fulfill such obligations in Adu's case.

And as I understand it, United's decision to bring back Moreno after NY, and to bring back Quaranta after crotch-grab, were not completely money-based decisions; apparently the club thought they owed these two something. And I appreciate that, and respect the team more.

Posted by: fallschurch1 | January 6, 2010 4:01 PM | Report abuse

whoop de whoop?

or whoop de doo?

;-)

Posted by: troy6 | January 6, 2010 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Just so you guys know, if there IS an extended MLS lockout; and barring some dramatic compromise between the Team Owners Association (TOA), the driving force behind the reincarnated North American Soccer League, and USL-1, the highest level of soccer that may be played in the US this summer may only be third division.

Late last month, the USSF declined to certify either the NASL OR USL-1 as the USA's second division professional league, citing primarily that neither league had the eight viable teams the USSF requires for certification.

Today also happens to be the day the two sides (NASL/TOA and USL-1) were set a deadline by the USSF to come to some kind of agreement so that second-division certification could be issued by USSF to allow the certified league to go forward with planning for 2010.

(For me, the blog Inside Minnesota Soccer has been pretty thorough [if a bit opinionated, it seems to me] in covering the NASL/USL-1 schism. Haven't checked today yet to see if there's been any new developments on this.)

Posted by: SportzNut21 | January 6, 2010 4:08 PM | Report abuse

I don't disagree with the sentiment, as the ever blurring line between journalist and commentator ticks me off.

Posted by: delantero | January 6, 2010 3:59 PM | Report abuse


----------------------

I agree, delantero. Except that everyone is now a commentator. Journalism is dead and has been for awhile. Maybe not so much in sports, but in world news and politics for sure.

Posted by: Atlanta4MLS | January 6, 2010 4:11 PM | Report abuse

@fallschurch, I absolutely respect and appreciate the "family" values United seemingly have. Another reason to love the shirt. I was just saying you don't go blame Disney for Lindsay Lohan and Brittany Spears nose dives do you?

Posted by: DadRyan | January 6, 2010 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Also! Does anyone know what # Donovan is going to be sporting at Everton?

Posted by: DadRyan | January 6, 2010 4:28 PM | Report abuse

I'm with Fischy on Addlery. He actually knows how to shoot, which is more than we can say for some of our other reserve forwards over the years. In fact that makes two years in a row where we've failed to retain a quality reserve forward. We kept Guy Kpene over Nick Addlery in 2008, and then we kept Ange N'Silu over Francis Doe in 2009.

Ryan Miller though? He didn't look like anything more than a career backup to me. That one is much more surprising.

Posted by: DCUMD | January 6, 2010 4:37 PM | Report abuse

@DadRyan: Looking at the player list on the Everton website, it appears that numbers 9, 13, 16, 29, 32, 33, and 36 might be available, or something higher than 38.

Other than that your guess is as good as mine. I'm thinking a lower number, though.

Posted by: SportzNut21 | January 6, 2010 4:44 PM | Report abuse

*Mr Goff is a JOURNALIST. One of the few left in covering soccer. He does very little injecting of his own opinion, to my mind. To see a difference, read Ives. That's a full time blogger. (And a decent one).

I've read the comment several times and see no snark or condescension.

**Donovan appears to be wearing the #9

Posted by: JkR- | January 6, 2010 4:48 PM | Report abuse

Ryan Miller though? He didn't look like anything more than a career backup to me. That one is much more surprising.

Posted by: DCUMD | January 6, 2010 4:37 PM | Report abuse
----------------------

Why? MLS is just as good if not better than the Scandanavian leagues.

Posted by: Atlanta4MLS | January 6, 2010 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Goff - "So Freddy, there are at least 3 people in the world, all of whom post on the Insider, who think the story of your constant failure would be a good and intersting story. So, I wonder if you'd tell me what the heck your problem is."

Freddy - "Im just going to continue to work my butt off... and keep you updated on twitter."

Goff (to the teams where Freddy played) - "Why was Freddy a Flop here?"

Teams - "No comment, internal matter"

Yeah, that'd be a great story. Not a lot of reliable sources.....

Posted by: hacksaw | January 6, 2010 5:19 PM | Report abuse

fischy:

I agree that Miller displayed the ability to be a mid-level or better MLS right back while here. His problem was that we have Namoff, and McTavish as well (in 2008, when Miller was here, McTavish was very much in Soehn's favor). When Miller was in Columbus, he was stuck behind Hejduk. Really, he just signed with the wrong MLS clubs. It's hard to imagine him not getting time in several other places (San Jose and New York, at the very least).

The Addlery situation is bizarre. I thought he was a poor fit here, but in Puerto Rico's system he had a team perfectly suited for what he does, and vice versa. He looked great in that set up every time I saw them in the CCL.

However, Cruz Azul plays a possession game not too far removed from what we do. Addlery's talents are admirable, but if he didn't have the technical qualities for a bad DCU team, how's he going to fit into a Mexican power? I guess he might make a good "last 10 minutes, we need a goal, let's throw the kitchen sink at them" sub, but other than that, Mexican defenses are going to love his poor first touch and inability to reliably hit passes under pressure.

DCUMD:

I was about to say that Doe made more than N'Silu and that it was a cap decision, but then I remembered that N'Silu is on like $70K and Doe was on the senior minimum. That decision is looking worse than it seemed at the time, isn't it? Doe might have been maddeningly inconsistent, but N'Silu never actually had a good game.

As much as Kpene was a theoretical better fit for our system, I think Addlery was clearly better enough overall that he was the guy to keep. Kpene had some technical gifts, but having a non-goal scoring forward is like having a keeper that can't make saves. Sometimes, you have to not overthink things and just keep the better guy.

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | January 7, 2010 2:07 AM | Report abuse

If I were a club signing Freddy, I would require him to stop tweeting. His posts are genius - they must take hours to hone to perfection - that's where all the effort goes.

Posted by: diego_r | January 7, 2010 11:04 AM | Report abuse

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