Freddy Adu is no longer the best US men's national team soccer player who has never played for the team.
There's at least two reasons for this.
First is that he has taken the field for the USA, several times in fact, though only once in a major international tournament. And when he has played, he hasn't done a whole lot.
Second is Jermaine Jones, who has switched his eligibility from Germany–where he likely was not going to get a chance to contribute–to the USA, where he could probably have gotten a lot more playing time at the World Cup in South Africa had he been healthy.
Two goals and second place to a German transfer–albeit a pretty good one–was not really what was expected of Adu when he barnstormed the USA and the MLS as a 14-year-old wunderkind in 2004.
At the time, the young Ghanian was touted as the saving grace of soccer in North America by such authoritative media outlets as the Late Show with David Letterman, and the 60 Minutes news program, and blessed as the "heir apparent" in a series of television ads he made co-starring Pelé.
After winning the MLS Cup title as a member of the DC United squad in 2004, everything seemed to be going to plan for all concerned.
But despite that early success–not entirely of his own doing–Adu never quite took hold in the hearts of US or MLS fans.
Interviews and news reports about him, during his 2-3 years at center stage in the USA soccer scene, became a repetitive litany that went something like this: "He's just 14 years old (he seemed to stay that age for at least two years), and, just like 'a regular kid', he enjoys video games and hanging out with his friends; the only difference? he's a professional athlete!"
It was all likely true, too. He seemed to be a just a kid, but as a kid he was very much in over his head trying to become Pele in a land that did not yet even know of "Beckham of Hollywood", much less the net-rattling "Beckham-of-United".