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MLS game brings Adu

Major League Soccer’s Kansas City Wizards and D.C. United, which boasts 14-year-old rising soccer star Freddy Adu in its roster, will play an exhibition match at the USF Soccer Stadium on Feb. 19.

Adu, the first overall pick of the 2004 draft, is widely touted to become the United States’ first genuine soccer superstar. The Ghanaian-born striker, who attracted interest from major soccer clubs in Europe, has already signed an endorsement deal with Nike worth $1 million and appeared on The Late Show. In his first season with D.C. United, the prodigy will receive $500,000 per year, according to Soccer America magazine.

USF men’s soccer coach George Kiefer got a firsthand look at Adu’s abilities when the Bulls played an exhibition game against the national U-17 side in February 2002.

“He’s just a very dynamic player, fun to watch,” Kiefer said. “He’s got lightning speed with or without the ball and he scores goals.”

Media reports have already speculated on how much playing time D.C. United will grant Adu. Kiefer is optimistic the much-vaunted youngster will play at some point in the match.

“In the exhibition, I’ve got to imagine that Freddy will be good enough to at least get a look in those games,” said Kiefer. “And for what they’re paying him, I would almost bet he’s going to get a look.”

The match, which will be used by the two MLS sides as preparation for the upcoming season, is a fund-raiser for the USF men’s soccer program. Kiefer’s association with Wizards’ assistant manager Brian Bliss, both of whom played college soccer at Southern Connecticut State University, was instrumental in bringing the game to USF.

“(Bliss) was looking to do his pre-season in Florida,” Kiefer said. “I asked him if he could do it as a fund-raiser. He contacted D.C. United and got them to agree to come down on Feb. 19.”