Freddy Adu went to Poland hoping to resurrect his career, but instead he found misinformation and a dead end in his search for a chance to return to the playing field.
Adu believed he was set to complete a deal with Polish first-division club Sandecja Nowy Sacz, and made the trip ready to sign with the same team he had passed on last winter when the club was still in the second division. It didn't take the 28-year-old long before he realized something was wrong with the trip.
"As soon as I walked out of the airport I knew something wasn't right because I was told to take a picture with a team scarf," Adu told Goal. "I made it clear I wanted no press or pictures or anything but that went ignored. A few hours later I found out the coach made some comments about me which was pretty clear that he didn't know I was coming ... or I was not the player he asked for."
Sandecja manager Radoslaw Mroczkowski was no stranger to Adu, with the club having attempted to sign him last winter when it was making a promotional push. Adu passed on the offer at the time, a decision that apparently didn't go over well with Mroczkowski, who wanted no part of Adu when he heard sporting director Arkadiusz Alexander had orchestrated a trial for Adu without his input.
"It's a joke," Mroczkowski told Polish website Sportowefakty.pl. "I read in the media about his trial. I asked the sporting director why he did not tell me anything [about Adu]. After all, he sent me a text message that there 'will be a player on trial' and that they all knew. Marketing knew, the staff at the club knew. Only the coach did not know who the trialist was."
Ended badly. I havnt had a chance to train or do anything with the team but I have to find the best situation for my career. — Freddy Adu (@FreddyAdu) August 1, 2017
Adu went to Sandecja intending to have a successful trial that would lead to a contract. He wanted to keep the training stint low profile after previously having had clubs bring him in with the intent of trying to generate media buzz rather than with the intention of actually signing him.
Adu realized things were headed in that direction when he was inundated with calls from Polish media on the way from the airport to the team's stadium. Things only got worse.
"I waited three hours at the stadium just to meet with the technical director who was in a meeting with the coach, and that's when I found out that they weren't all on the same page," Adu said. "I couldn't be in a situation like that because I've been there before and it's a recipe for disaster."
Adu has received some interest from some Polish second-division clubs while he has been in the country, but the experience with Sandecja has left a sour taste in his mouth and has him ready to return home to the United States to regroup and search for a more stable situation.
"I know I haven't played in a while and need to sort out a club and play, but it has to be the right club and the right situation," Adu said. "I can't rush into another situation and not get the playing time I need."
Adu, who was once considered the brightest prospect in U.S. soccer history, last played professionally in 2016 with the Tampa Bay Rowdies.