Early life[ edit ] Adu, a Ghanaian American , grew up in the port city of Tema, Ghana , where he played soccer against men three times his age. In February , he became a U. Soon after arriving in the United States, he was discovered by a local soccer coach and began playing with boys several years older.
Olympic Development Program in an under tournament against the youth squads of such traditionally strong Italian teams as Lazio and Juventus , Adu's team won the competition, he led the tournament in scoring, and he was named MVP. Dallas was compensated with a player allocation. Having already signed with D. United, Adu effectively became the first player selected in that draft, two months before it officially took place.
United had previously signed American youngsters Bobby Convey in , and Santino Quaranta in —both aged 16 and the youngest player in MLS at the times of being drafted. Adu playing for D. United On April 3, Adu came on in United's first game of the season against the San Jose Earthquakes as a second-half substitute, making him the youngest player ever to appear in United States professional sports. On April 17, at the age of fourteen, Adu scored his first professional goal in the 75th minute of a 3—2 away loss against the MetroStars.
In doing so, he became the youngest player in MLS history to score a goal. In his first season as a pro, Adu finished the year with five goals and three assists, while playing in all 30 regular season games. Although briefly a starter, Adu was relegated to a substitute when D. He played in three of four playoff games by D.
United, assisting in one goal during that time. Adu was criticized from a number of different angles in his first season as a professional. Some commentators have suggested that Adu was too young to be playing professionally and that he needed more time to develop mentally and physically amongst players his own age. In his second season, he was suspended for one game  after he complained about his playing time in the media. In addition, Adu had been chosen to take spot kicks during D.
United's two penalty shootouts—scoring on both attempts. Benfica[ edit ] On July 28, , Adu opted out of playing for Real in their regular-season match, and later that day, boarded a plane to Portugal to negotiate with Benfica. Loans[ edit ] In July , Adu joined French club AS Monaco on a season-long loan, with an option to join the Ligue 1 club permanently at the end of the deal, an option that was eventually declined by Monaco.
Adu was injured just before half time, and was substituted. Assigned squad number 11, Adu made his debut on January 31 and assisted a 90th-minute goal by Johnson. He scored his first goal on February 14 against Ergotelis. To date, this is his only first-team appearance for the club.
Adu was released by Jagodina, who opted not to renew his six-month contract, on December 21, Contract details of the signing were not disclosed. He was selected for the third and final preseason match against his former club D. United , playing 30 minutes and notching an assist—the first assist recorded in club history and his first in nearly three years—in a defeat.