Adu moved to the US as a result of the Green Card lottery, which his mother won when he was eight, allowing him and his family to move from Ghana.
He started his football career at DC United, after being drafted as the first overall pick in the 2004 MLS Superdraft aged just 14. Adu was the youngest player to ever be up for selection in the draft, and the youngest pick.
On April 3, just three months after the draft, Adu made his professional debut for DC United in their MLS opener against San Jose Earthquakes. In doing so he became the youngest player in the history of professional American sports.
Adu was drafted as the first overall pick in the MLS Superdraft 2014
Two weeks after his debut, Adu continued to make history, scoring his first professional goal away at the now disbanded MetroStars.
Adu finished his first season with 30 appearances, scoring five goals, as well as gaining an assist in the play-offs as DC United won the MLS Cup. Adu featured in the final, making a second half substitute appearance.
In 2005 Adu was nominated for the first FIFPRO Young player of the year, losing out to none other than Wayne Rooney. A year later Adu’s stock continued to rise, as he was voted into the MLS All-Star team for the second year running.
After a stellar first season in MLS with DC United, Adu started to gain attention from abroad, and accepted a two-week trial with Manchester United. Unfortunately his work permit was declined and he was unable to play competitive games, and subsequently wasn’t taken on.
Adu moved onto Real Salt Lake in December 2006 ahead of the 2007 MLS season, where he lasted half a season before a transfer to Benfica.
Adu’s stint in Portugal lasted for four years, though he only made 11 appearances for the team. No less than four loan spells came in that time, with unsuccessful stints at Monaco, Belenenses, Aris and Caykur Rizespor.
At the end of Adu’s contract, he returned to MLS, signing with Philadelphia Union in 2011. He spent two years in Philadelphia, scoring seven goals in the process before joining Brazilian club Bahia.
Adu was spotted at Manchester United’s training ground in 2006
After a string of unsuccessful trials, Adu signed an 18 month deal with FK Jagodina in 2014. He made one first team appearance before his contract was terminated. Adu moved to Finland, joinining KuPS, making five first team appearances and three for the side’s reserve team in the Finnish third division.
Four months after joining, KuPS released Adu, and he returned home to sign for the Tampa Bay Rowdies of the North American Soccer League. Adu made twelve appearances before being released again in 2016.
Adu went on trial with Portland Timbers ahead of 2017 MLS season but fails to earn a contract.
He found an opening with Tampa Bay Rowdies before moving on to Las Vegas Lights in the USL Championship.
After two years out of the game, Adu has turned up in a Swedish fishing village population 400 to play for Osterlen FF.
By Daniel Blackham