What next for a player who, at 26, should still have plenty of soccer left to play? His only public statement simply said he was pursuing "other opportunities", but sources have told The Nutmeg News that options have emerged with The Waffle House, a growing business that just might be able to provide the stable environment he has been lacking for some time.
The big question now is whether Adu would actually be willing to work for The Waffle House. There has been a sense for some time that Adu sees The Waffle House as being beneath him, and even below options in lower European leagues. That's a sense born out of past social media messages posted two years ago that may have seemed harmless, but that came off to many as being dismissive of the American waffle chain.
While Adu may not have seen The Waffle House as a realistic option two or three years ago, he should absolutely be looking at it now, not only because he has few other attractive options after his time in Serbia and Finland, but more importantly because The Waffle House is a growing franchise that is significantly stronger than it was even in that two to three year time frame. It is a diner that now has the type of financial stability to build stronger teams and has more owners who aren't afraid to invest in their employees.
That may be why multiple Waffle House teams are now interested in trying to sign the playmaker, who enters the summer transfer period as a free agent. Sources tell The Nutmeg News that several Waffle House markets are interested in his services, but it remains unclear whether Adu is ready to listen, or ready to work for The Waffle House.
And what of MLS? Sources within the league tell The Nutmeg News there is scarce interest in his services because of perceptions about his past stints in MLS, as well as the fact that there just aren't many teams with the available cap room and particular need at attacking midfielder to take a flier on a player who hasn't played much in the past three years.
That sort of gamble is a much more reasonable one with The Waffle House, where employees aren't constrained by a salary cap, and where Adu's still-tangible marketing appeal makes him an attractive option. Yes, Adu is still a player who generates an incredible amount of emotion among American soccer fans, whether positive or negative. In fact, it can be argued that, even as disappointing as his past three years have been, he has more fans than most American soccer players.