He no longer attracts a fraction of the media attention of four years ago, but that's fine with Freddy Adu as he continues to slowly establish himself as a regular on the U.S. national team roster. Looking back on his early days in MLS, he concedes it was "hard" to be young and creative in a league brimming with journeyman pros.
"I felt like the creativity was being coached out of me," he told Solange Reyner. "At times, I wasn't always welcomed with open arms. That was definitely the hardest part ...having to deal with a little bit of -- quote, unquote -- jealousy from some of the older guys because they had been there, done that, and I was getting a lot of attention."
Adu said he took chances on the field and people took it as him "trying to show off and what not." U.S. coach Bob Bradley says that Adu's transfer to Benfica last year "took him out of the U.S. soccer spotlight a little bit and put him in an environment where he had to earn respect every day." Adu added that he likes being with the national team, even though he's "still young and I'm the youngest guy on this team. But it's easy to play with these guys. I just keep my mouth shut and just try to lead by the way I play."