Freddy Adu was nicknamed the New Pele. He was once the youngest player to sign a contract in MLS history with only 14 years and 168 days old. As was expected, he also implanted the record of the youngest debutant and scorer in US soccer. However, after his glorious start, Adu's highest achievement was to play 3 times the FIFA U-20 World Cup. Could Real Salt Lake recently signed forward Axel Kei be a déjà vu?
The Claret and Cobalt have just announced Kei's incorporation on a two-year contract. This transfer movement broke Adu's record: the Ivory Coast native has done it with 14 years and 15 days old. "Axel has proven to be one of the top attacking prospects in the country. His propensity in front of goal is well beyond his years, and coupled with his elite athleticism, he projects to become a goal-scoring force in our league in the years to come" stated RSL General Manager Elliot Fall.
After being born in Africa, Axel Kei's family moved to Brazil where he spent his life until 2017 when the Keis arrived in California. Being a son of a former professional soccer player, Axel joined Real Salt Lake Academy hind playing at LA Galaxy's San Diego Youth Soccer Club. He debuted in the USL Championship just last October being 13 years and 8 months old.
The Freddy Adu's curse that Axel Kei must escape from
Kei has already shown his skills: he was the main man of the RSL U-15 squad that conquered this team's first tournament ever: the MLS Next Cup Championship. Nevertheless, he should remain focused because Freddy Adu also created big expectations that could never fulfill.
Freddy participated in 3 U-20 FIFA World Cups but with him on the pitch, US National Team was not able to succeed. Related to his club performance, he became a true journeyman, debuting with DC United, moving to Real Salt Lake, and then traveling to Europe, where he could not shine with Benfica (Portugal), Monaco (France), Aris (Greece), Rizespor (Turkey), Jagodina (Serbia), Kuopion (Finland), and Osterlen (Sweden).
In America, Adu has also worn Portland Timbers, Tampa Bay Rowdies, and Las Vegas Lights shirts. The US National Team has also given him a chance to justify his nickname, but the result was the same: 17 appearances and just 2 goals scored. Freddy Adu is remembered more for the very beginning of his career than for what he has achieved during it.