This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2007, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Posted: 4:10 PM- Freddy Adu is gone.
The 18-year-old Real Salt Lake striker has struck a transfer deal with Benfica of Portugal, and boarded a plane to his new home on Saturday - just hours before RSL begins the second half of its Major League Soccer season against New England at Rice Eccles Stadium.
Team spokesman Trey FitzGerald said Adu was scheduled to travel to his family home in Washington, D.C., before joining his mother and agent on a flight to Lisbon on Sunday. Adu is expected to sign a 5-year contract worth roughly the same as his $550,000 annual salary in MLS, with housing and car allowances and goal bonuses as part of the deal.
"They agreed to terms over the phone," FitzGerald said. "nothing has been signed, so I guess there's a .0001 percent chance that he could return. But I wouldn't expect it to happen."
Benfica will pay a $2 million transfer fee to MLS, and RSL will receive a major allocation worth $500,000 as its share of the compensation. In addition to the $350,000 of salary-cap room that Adu's departure will create, the major allocation will give coach Jason Kreis even more financial latitude in rebuilding a team that went 1-8-6 in the first half of its league season.
"We would like to thank Freddy for his time here and we wish him the best of luck," Kreis said in a statement the team is planning to release. But "there are a lot of new faces on this team that believe in each other, and as a result, we believe we have begun to move in the right direction."
With Adu out of the mix, strikers Robbie Findley and Alecko Eskandarian are expected to start for RSL against the Revs. Both among the six new players acquired since Kreis took over as coach nearly three months ago.