I didn’t, of course, but apparently I’ve seen the next best thing: the first competitive goal by the All-American wonderboy, 14-year-old soccer sensation and certified New Pelé, Freddy Adu. Young Fred is to be seen with The Great Man himself on an ad for some soft drink or other: Freddy out-skills Pelé in a competition to own the last remaining bottle but the old master sneakily snaffles the lot while the whippersnapper is off performing some baroque sequence of flicks.

It was interesting to see the fairly muted Adumania in the US: there was terrific applause from the rival sets of fans when he scored, like they were just pleased to witness history being made. In the reports we saw on the TV news in a boozer, they didn’t bother to mention that Adu’s team DC United, had lost to their enemies the NY / NJ Metrostars. Instead they chose to show the (very good) goal again and again.

In England, it would likely be considered bad form for such a young player to receive this sort of attention. Following Manchester United’s lead, Everton appear determined to shelter Wayne Rooney from publicity as much as possible, though it’s not yet clear whether WR would have anything even vaguely entertaining to say. There seems to be a fear ‘ a reasonable fear ‘ of allowing handsomely paid young men to receive too much adulation. Feet must be kept on the ground, preferably in boots you’ve cleaned yourself, and precious young limbs must be cherished. Cautionary tales of ‘wasted’ talent and injuries caused by too much physical punishment at an early age abound. Of course, clubs see the words ‘curtailed career’ and read ‘reduced return on investment”

I was interested to see that there is an ongoing lawsuit in (I think) American Football where the authorities are trying to prevent a player entering the draft before the age of 21, arguing that he won’t be physically or emotionally prepared. I’m told that our hero (14) is already among the best-paid players in MLS.

Apparently it is a rarity for a soccer game to get on the TV sports round-up in the first place, so it’s easy to see why MLS have cleaved to a homegrown sensation in their attempts to popularise football (soccer) in the States. Freddy’s well-being probably doesn’t figure near the top of their list of priorities.

So how was he? A couple of decent touches, a marvellous step-over which avoided being fannydangle by virtue of the tremendous cross which it allowed, and another 30 minutes or so of not much. But he is only 14. I hope he’s the sort of fellow to take the attention in his stride. I’d be delighted if he becomes an international sensation. I saw his first competitive goal. It’s always good to have boasting rights.