The refrain was all too familiar after Freddy Adu's nice little debut for Caykur Rizespor in the Turkish second division last weekend, two assists in a 3-0 victory.
"So that's where he's been."
But there are some who refuse to look at Adu's latest move -- the fourth different team he's joined on loan since signing with Portuguese club Benfica in 2007 -- as just another temporary blip on the soccer radar before he falls out of favor again.
"Spending time with Freddy, seeing him train, seeing the way he prepared and focused, I think there's still a very positive future ahead," said Trevor Moawad, the director of performance at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., who has worked with Adu since he was 11.
When Adu, now 21, returned to IMG for a three-week stint during the holidays, Moawad saw signs of maturity and a renewed determination, such as a three-hour workout alone on Christmas.
Adu has long had the talent, but tactical awareness, consistency and belief from a coaching staff have been a more difficult burden of proof to build. Moawad isn't the only one hoping Adu can finally find that combination in Turkey.
"I think he's very aware of the perceptions that are out there. He understands what people are saying, what coaches are saying, but I don't think he's focused on that," Moawad said. "I think he expects to prove to himself that he can play well and play consistently and establish himself as a player in Europe. I think that's simply his goal."