The Philadelphia Union announced new signing Freddy Adu at a press conference at PPL Park today, but that wasn't the big story of the event.
Adu, who last played in MLS with Real Salt Lake, was supposed to be the highlight of the afternoon as the Union's presser aired online live on CSNPhilly.com and on Comcast Sports Net, but his entrance into Philadelphia was over shadowed by head coach Piotr Nowak's semi-outbursts.
Nowak seemingly took offense to two questions from the reporters in attendance, the first by Marc Narducci. The Philadelphia Inquirer beat writer asked about Adu's possible inclusion in tomorrow's game day 18-man roster against FC Dallas. First staring, or rather glaring, at the report, Nowak then went on to almost belittle him, saying, "Yes, there are 18-men on the roster," before moving onto answering the actual question Narducci posed.
The Polish coach's follow up alluded to the game day plans, before finally getting to Adu's role in them.
"He's in our 18-man game roster," said Nowak. "We're looking to play Freddy."
A second rant-like answer from Nowak came when a question of what Adu thought his expected impact for the Union would be. Appearing to take offense to the question, Nowak began to break down the Chris Vito's, of the Delco Times, question, before confronting him along the lines of how he replied to Narducci's inquiry.
"What you mean by impact," Nowak retorted, almost sarcastically.
The Union's new signing's time to shine wasn't fully blocked by Nowak's actions, however. The 22-year-old Adu was still able to get plenty of face time and plenty of words in before the conference ended. A clearly matured Adu spoke about his time overseas as an almost necessary step in the right direction.
He finished off the press conferences by referencing his time with Nowak and how he didn't truly appreciate his coaching style as a teenager. Alluding to problems that lead to the two butting heads during their mutual time on DC United, Adu said that his time outside of MLS has shown that a coach like Nowak is his favorite to play under.
As photographers prepped for pictures of Adu with his new jersey and the call for the photo op to begin, the American international asked for one last opportunity to speak.
"Numbers mean something to certain players. Giving up your number isn't an easy thing," Adu said. "I just want to thank Levi. I'm going to take [Levi] out to a nice dinner. I just want to say thanks."
Holding up his jersey next to Nowak, Adu's grin was ear-to-ear. Then the feed cut out online and on TV and Adu's first prime time spot in Philadelphia was over.