Spurning overtures from some of the
world's greatest clubs, Ghanaian-born
Freddy Adu has signed a six-year deal with Major League Soccer (MLS).
Adu wants to prove himself at home
The 14-year-old striker will join DC United next season where he is expected to become the youngest player for a US professional team in more than 100 years.
"He's widely considered the best young player in the world," said commissioner Don Garber.
"And we believe that playing in his home country, in MLS, will further develop him as a player and, most importantly, as a
Adu was courted extensively by Manchester United and other top European teams.
But he chose to remain near his home in
Potomac, Maryland, where he and his family have lived since immigrating from Ghana in 1997.
"We wanted to allow Freddy to pursue his dreams and develop his God-given talents," said Adu's mother, Emelia.
"As he makes this next step at the age of 14, it was best for Freddy to stay in America and sign with MLS."
Adu will be a Project-40 player - an MLS program designed to accelerate the development of top young Americans while
awarding them college scholarships for use in future years.
His development has been watched closely for years. He was a high school All-American as a freshman and attended
the US Under-14 boys' national team camp in 2001.
He began playing for the US Under-17 team last year at age 13, scoring 22 goals in 2002 and a team-leading 29 goals in 46 matches this year.
He led the United States to the quarterfinals of the Under-17 world championships in Finland in August, scoring three goals in the opening match and the winning goal in
the second game.
"I grew up watching MLS, and I look forward to the challenge," said Adu, who was underwent a league physical
exam on Tuesday.
"This league will help me develop as a
player, and I hope I can leave my mark as soon as possible."