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Adu Warns Altidore About the Hype
Chicago Tribune, April 26th, 2007 3:45PM

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In retrospect, it's not all that great being the "Next Big Thing" in American soccer, Freddy Adu tells Luis Arroyave of the Chicago Tribune. At 14, Adu was already drawing comparisons with Pele. He quickly became MLS' highest paid player, and was labeled as the boy who would one-day deliver the World Cup to the USA. And while it certainly hasn't turned out that way, Adu is still only 17, although he's a much wiser 17-year-old sports celebrity than most you'll find.

As such, he has a few words of advice for the New York Red Bulls' Josmer Altidore, whose early-season performances are already drawing similar expectations. "Expectations can be hard, especially since Jozy is doing so well right now," Adu said. "He needs to learn not to get caught up in it. Honestly, when I first came into the league, I read every article written about me and I bought into the hype. That was the worst thing I could do for myself."

As Arroyave says, the fact that Altidore, who's played in just nine professional games with the Bulls, already has his own Adidas commercial, "is not only a sign of our culture, but also of MLS's lack of stars." The Bulls might be eager to show off their new star, he says, which is understandable given the marketability of "Next Big Thing" status. But as Adu warns, "trying to please everybody" can be taxing, both emotionally and physically.

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