It may not be the end of the soccer road for Freddy Adu but the announcement yesterday by the Brazilian League club Esporte Clube Bahia that it will not renew his contract in December effectively ends all chances the one-time wunderkind ever had of living up to the expectations that once had him hailed as "the next Pele'.

After first entering the soccer world as a "prodigy" at 14 years old, Adu, now 24, has flamed out with his ninth different club since turning professional in 2004.

From the United States to Portugal to France back to Portugal to Greece to Turkey back to the United States and finally to Brazil, Adu, who appeared in four matches for Bahia since he was transferred from the Philadelphia Union for Kleberson in April, has now disappointed in six different leagues on three different continents.

Adu is young enough so that if Europe, North America or South America doesn't call again, he can still try Africa, Asia, Australia or perhaps Antarctica if the emperor penguins ever start a summer league.

"[Adu] hasn't played because we understand that there are other players who are superior to him and he has had so many opportunities," Bahia sporting director Anderson Barros said. "I have nothing bad to say about him off the field.

"When is contract is ended he can go on with his life. He will be free to procure another club."

If soccer was as big as the NFL, Major League Baseball, the NBA or NHL in the United States, Adu would go down as one of the most overhyped yet underachieving athletes in history.

His plight is the classic cautionary tale of a young player being given far too much, far too soon.

From the huge signing bonuses given to him by MLS and Nike to stay in the United States to his commercials and photo shoots with Pele', Adu was the kid who believed that being rewarded for accomplishing nothing meant that he had actually done something.

After being caressed and pampered because of the promise he displayed as a child, Adu felt entitled.

But once he was thrust into the real world of professional sports where men played for a living and not just for fun, Adu could not thrive when required to perform as an adult.

When and underachieving Adu was inevitably shipped off to another club, he always found a way to shift the blame to someone else besides the child/man looking back at him in the mirror.

Adu often used his youth as a crutch even when he was no longer a child.

Sure, he had some moments like being selected a two-time MLS All Star and playing well for the United States in the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup, but they were few and far between.

For his professional career thus far, Adu has played in 212 matches with 34 goals. The kid who was supposed to lead the United States to new international glory has earned just 17 caps and scored two goals for the national team.

So now, as he completes the transformation from topflight club prospect to journeyman player, Freddy Adu will forever be the great "What if?" for United States soccer.