A decade ago, Freddy Adu became a household name, even drawing comparisons to the great Pele. The then 14-year old was taken first overall in the MLS Superdraft, by D.C. United.
Just over ten years later, Adu is out of contract, and has played only 59 minutes of first team soccer since leaving the Philadelphia Union of MLS after the 2012 season. His most recent stint was a 6-month contract at Serbian side FK Jagodina, but the two sides will part ways now that his contract is expired. It's worth noting that the Serbian league is not doing well on the whole, and FIFPro are recommending that players avoid signing contracts with clubs in the country.
Adu is still only 25-years old, meaning that he should still have his best football ahead of him. He was solid enough during his time with the Union, and there's little reason to think his skills have eroded enough that he'd be unable to contribute to an MLS or NASL side anymore. Seeing the Cosmos look at Adu would be interesting, as he's got the sort of name recognition to gain some media attention in NY, but could be desperate enough for a fresh start that he'd be a solid reclamation candidate for Gio Savarese and company.
On the flip side, the media attention which Adu would bring to NY has never been backed up by his play on the pitch, and questions about his professionalism and work ethic have been asked during his spells playing in Europe. He's also likely to command a more sizable piece of the payroll than many comparable players due to the weight his name carries with the U.S. soccer public, something that a budget-conscious club might be reluctant to commit to. That said, the Cosmos don't have the same sort of silly salary cap restrictions that MLS sides do, and could probably make a more competitive offer than most MLS sides would be willing to because of that*.
*Unless someone is willing to make Adu a designated player, which seems unlikely at best
Personally, I'd be all for the Cosmos taking a bit of a risk and bringing Adu in for a look, as he'd check a number of boxes for the NASL side. First and foremost, his name would bring eyeballs, even if it likely won't have a huge effect. That said, additional press and ticket sales will be important to the club as they look for approval to build a 25,000 seat stadium. He's also an American player, and thus won't require an international roster spot, which are valuable commodities for the Cosmos. Added to the potential upside that I think Freddy still possesses, and I'd at least pick up the phone and see if he'd like to train in New York for a few days.
The club have confirmed that they've had conversations with Adu in the past, but there wasn't a match ahead of the 2014 NASL season. It will be interesting to see if anything has changed in 12 months, following a disappointing season for both sides. If nothing else, it's something to watch for.