Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Adieu, Adu? Here in the D.C. area, there's a traffic nightmare, with so many incidents of Republicans being thrown under buses. There's a story that may get overlooked with all the attention being paid to the Democratic wave sweeping across this country. The Washington Post is reporting that Freddy Adu has been granted permission to begin a two-week training stint with Manchester United, ten days from now.

Adu cannot sign to play with an English side before his 18th birthday on June 18th. Freddy is under contract with MLS for next season, and the league holds options on his services for the next two seasons after that. No doubt, the league will transfer Adu in exchange for millions. I'm expecting that Adu may play with United all of next season, but talks are already underway to arrange his transfer. It may be that Adu will not return next season, or will leave in mid-season. For his part, Freddy is committed to going abroad, but would like to be back with United next year.

Who will replace Adu in the league's hype machine? I've already covered that territory -- Jozy Altidore of the New York Red Bulls -- except that Altidore is the real deal. Adu is a very talented player who still needs to develop his decision-making skills and continue to develop his game skills. Altidore is even younger than Adu, and certainly he has much to learn, but he's already producing results.

On the coaching scene, FC Dallas fired its coach, claiming the team has underachieved, and needs a change to get to the next level. In contrast, United's management has expressed a desire to have Peter Nowak return as coach next year. Nowak has not ruled out a return to United, but is said to be seeking out opportunities in Europe. The ball, apparently, is in his court.

Other Soccer Tidbits: The New York Times has a piece on the palace revolt in the Canadian Soccer Association -- the problems that Canada has encountered in putting forth a strong men's team, leading to the firing of the man who has run the C.S.A. for over 20 years. Canada has some talented players. The national team lost Owen Hargreaves to England, but there are still eligible Canadians in the E.P.L., the Bundesliga and other top European leagues. In the M.L.S., Houston Dynamo's DeWayne DeRosario is likely to make the leap across the pond in the off-season. Probably the best player in the MLS, DeRosario's prodigious talents are too big to stay on our little league. Canada should be able to field a competitive national team. Here's hoping the Canadian program starts moving in that direction soon.

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