SAN DIEGO, Jan 23 (Reuters) - Freddy Adu became the youngest player to compete for the United States in soccer on Sunday when he made his international debut during a 0-0 draw with Canada in a friendly.
The 16-year-old received a rapturous welcome from the crowd of 6,077 at the University of San Diego's Torero Stadium when he replaced injured forward Eddie Johnson in the 81st minute.
'I wasn't nervous,' Adu said. 'I've been waiting for it for a long time, and it finally came. I was very excited.'
Adu spent the past two seasons with Major League Soccer's D.C. United, and played for the United States in the FIFA World Youth Championship in June.
'I thought he did fine,' United States coach Bruce Arena said. 'He wanted the ball at the end of the game, which is good.'
However, Adu also picked up his first yellow card in the 85th minute for diving.
'The Canadian team made it difficult on us all night,' Arena said. 'It was tough to find space on the field. When we weren't able to win the ball and connect with our first pass forward, they were able to get organised and drop nine players behind the ball.'
Canadian coach Frank Yallop was upbeat.
'It was a great performance from our side of things,' he said. 'We've changed our system to a 4-3-3 where we could flood the midfield, and the system allowed us to attack as well as defend.'
In fact, Canada went close just after the hour when U.S. goalkeeper Matt Reis was called on to stop Dwayne De Rosario from point-blank range nine meters out.
'I thought we broke well and created some great chances,' Yallop said. 'As a coach, you can't ask for more.'
The match was the first of 10 the United States will play before heading to this year's World Cup in Germany.
They will next play Norway on Jan. 29 in Carson, Calif.