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How Francis Jacobs, 14, his family and his new club are working to ensure he's not the 'next Freddy Adu'

ESPN FC's Alejandro Moreno explains why Freddy Adu was unable to turn his promise into an illustrious professional career.
Jacobs made the decision with close support and input from his family, who will manage his schooling with his increasing focus on soccer.

The comparisons are inevitable.

In November 2003, 14-year-old Freddy Adu signed his first professional contract with MLS and D.C. United. In the years since, Adu's career has been held up as a cautionary tale of too much too soon, showing how being the face of a league set the stage for a career that never lived up to the hype. Now another 14-year-old is slated to turn pro and is doing so a few months younger than Adu was when he became a professional.

Late last month, Francis Jacobs signed...

Adieu, Adu! Jacobs youngest to sign U.S. deal

USL Championship side Orange County SC has signed 14-year-old Francis Jacobs to a multiyear professional contract, the club and the player have told ESPN FC, making him the youngest male player to sign a professional soccer contract in the U.S.

Jacobs, who projects as a central midfielder, signed with OCSC on July 26 at 14 years, four months and 29 days old. Freddy Adu was 14 years, five months and 16 days old when he signed with MLS and D.C. United in November 2003.

Earlier this year, 13-year-old...

Tulsa Roughnecks owner: 'Zero tolerance' for Bastidas hate speech

The president of the Tulsa Roughnecks cited the USL's "zero-tolerance policy" against hate speech as the reason for terminating the contract of midfielder Fabian Bastidas on Sunday, and added he wanted to send a message to the city and beyond that such behavior would not be tolerated.

The decision came in the wake of statements by Oklahoma City Energy FC defender/midfielder Atiba Harris that a Tulsa player, later identified as Bastidas, had racially abused him in Saturday's match between the two...

Tulsa Roughnecks' Bastidas has contract terminated after racist abuse accusation

The Tulsa Roughnecks have terminated the contract of midfielder Fabian Bastidas after he was accused of racially abusing an Oklahoma City Energy player during a USL match this weekend.

Following Saturday's game between the Roughnecks and OKC, Energy midfielder Atiba Harris posted on Twitter that a Tulsa player, later identified as Bastidas, had called him the N-word on two occasions.

Both the Roughnecks and USL president Jake Edwards issued statements vowing to investigate the matter. And after...

England U17 champ Curtis Anderson joining USL's Charlotte Independence

Anderson saved and scored a penalty in England's round-of-16 shootout win over Japan at the 2017 Under-17 World Cup.

England Under-17 World Cup winner Curtis Anderson has joined United Soccer League side Charlotte Independence from Manchester City.

"When I heard that Charlotte Independence were interested in signing me I quickly decided that this was too good an opportunity to miss out on," Anderson told the team's website. "Especially the chance playing in senior football for the first time in my young career."

The 18-year-old goalkeeper had not made a first-team appearance for the Premier League champions,...