Photo: Earl Gardner
Questions about Freddy Adu’s status with the Philadelphia Union only deepened following comments after Thursday’s SuperDraft from head coach John Hackworth that the mercurial player would not be joining the club in preseason. Hackworth said simply, “He is not in our plans.”
In a wide ranging letter to Union season ticket holders on Sunday night, Hackworth touched on a number of questions in a letter to season ticket holders on Sunday evening, but primary among them was the status of Freddy Adu.
Describing the Adu situation as “the elephant in the room,” Hackworth said, “At the moment, Freddy has not been sold nor loaned and he continues to be our player, but in reality, while we are paying his salary and while we have his rights – he is not a part of our plans going forward.”
The Union manager continued, “The next step for him is one that we have been trying to work on since October, which is to see if there is a viable option to sell or loan him that makes sense for our organization and for Freddy.”
Hackworth said that, as was the case with Carlos Valdes, the club had been in discussion with Adu about the 2013 season since the end of last season. But where the issue with Valdes was one of working to find a way to best accommodate the defender’s desire to improve his prospects with the Colombian national team heading into the 2014 World Cup, with Adu the issue seems to have been one of bringing the impact of his wages on the team’s salary cap more in line with the impact he has had on the field. “Basically, to make a very long story short, we presented Freddy with an option to come back and play for the Philadelphia Union,” Hackworth explained. “However, Freddy chose to stick with his current contract, which was not an option we were willing to accept.”
In other words, the Union wanted Adu to take a wage cut. Adu refused and now the team are looking to get him out of the locker room.
Hackworth also addressed the Carlos Valdes loan, or, more specifically, the view of some Union fans that the club has not been as forthright as it could have been leading up to his loan announcement.
“I am well aware of all the rumors and speculation surrounding both players,” Hackworth said, “and I think supporters really need to know that there is much planning and strategic movement that goes into how you want to build a team for the next season. I understand that fans want information and feel the need to get in on all the rumors, but sometimes it’s just not possible to divulge some of those things because it is a business and there is a process you have to go through. If you give secrets away, you tip your hand to your competitor and you may change the face of a deal you are trying to get done.”
Hackworth acknowledged that the Valdes loan “was not the top target for us” and said, “until the very end I honestly don’t think it was Carlos’ main target.”
Hackworth also addressed last week’s SuperDraft and the signing announcement of Damani Richards and Aaron Wheeler.
Reacting to concerns that the team has failed to address defensive needs, Hackworth described Richards as “a true left back and we feel as though he had more potential to be developed than any left back we saw in the draft.” Hackworth also said that though Don Anding was described as a forward in the SuperDraft, “we did not pick Don Anding as one.”
Hackworth said Anding and fellow draftee Stephen Okai are “two guys come in and fit well with how we want to build this club…two players that can push the guys on our current roster and compete for their roster spots immediately.”
Hackworth stressed that all of the recent additions are aimed at strengthening a young core that will have gained from the experience of a hard 2012 season. “We believe we have a really strong group of players (and a young core) that through the experience, maturity and development they endured last year, start at an advanced place this year.” He continued, “It’s also addition by subtraction with the players who you don’t bring back. After just a few days of being with the players, we as a coaching staff feel really good about the group in all ways: soccer, character, personality, motivation and work ethic.”
Turning to what Union fans can expect in terms of style of play, Hackworth said, “When we look at our system of play, we want a mobile attack. We want to have the same type of mobility in our tactics. We feel very strongly that we can play a 4-3-3 in certain situations this year with a combination of Sebastien Le Toux, Conor Casey and Jack McInerney. Danny Cruz, Chandler Hoffman, Antoine Hoppenot will certainly feature in there as well.”
John Hackworth has scheduled a press conference for Monday at 1:30pm. We’ll have more news after that.