It took five minutes for 13-year-old phenom Freddy Adu (SI, March 3) to produce his first magical moment in a U.S. uniform. Facing Jamaica last week in the qualifying tournament for August's Under-17 World Cup, Adu raced along the end line, turned his man with a brilliant stepover and fed Corey Ashe for the U.S.'s first goal. "I was nervous because it was my first international game," Freddy said, "but I played pretty well."
Adu led the U.S. to qualification with two goals and two assists in three games, but what floored observers was his artistry. From dipsy-doodling three Jamaicans on his first goal, to launching a mind-bending bicycle kick against El Salvador, to beating six Guatemalans before firing off the crossbar, Adu displayed all the goods. Said coach John Ellinger, "Freddy was thrown into the fire, and he handled it."