The name Jozy Altidore has been one that has taken lots of bumps and bruises throughout his professional career so far, but what he is doing now may be the revive that this 23-year-old needs.
We first met Altidore in 2006 when he was taken by the New York Redbulls (“Metrostars” at the time) in the 2006 MLS SuperDraft. He was turning a lot of heads as the 16-year-old was making debuts and scoring goals in the process.
In 37 appearances for the Redbulls, Altidore netted 15 times, broke the record for youngest player to start an MLS playoff game, amongst other accolades all before 19. He was so highly regarded that in 2008, Villarreal of the notorious La Liga came calling for the young American and sealed his signature for about $10 million. This deal itself broke Clint Dempsey’s move to Fulham at a mere $4 million, showcasing how highly thought of Altidore was by many in his attempt to be the next face of American soccer.
Those same heads would quickly drive their attention away from Altidore as he was being deemed a bust. He would end up only making nine appearances for Villareal and scored once over three years with a couple loans that were unsuccessful. Ultimately, though, it seems Villarreal mismanaged Altidore and didn’t evaluate the importance of player confidence after venturing abroad for the first time as a young 19-year-old.
The lights seemed like they were quickly dimming on his career, which is unheard of considering he just recently turned the legal age to drink in 2011. However, one side saw Altidore in needing some extra TLC after his rough beginning and that side was AZ Alkmaar of the Eredivise.
The Dutch team in its own right were looking to add some quality so they could compete with the Ajax’s, PSV Eindhoven’s, FC Twente’s and Feyenoord’s of the world. Altidore obviously came in with a refreshed mentality about this next stop on his career, a place that he has been successful to this day. Altidore put away 23 league goals this season and thus giving him the nod as one of the best goal producers in the Eredivise. Jozy has obviously found some of the starlet ability that he was first proclaimed with years ago. He has a great chance to be the starting striker for the US National team next year at the World Cup. Considering he is developing more of a maturation towards the game that he needed, he should be perfect to team up with Clint Dempsey, Landon Donovan and the rest of the team, to be a threat. We haven’t had the US in a conversation to be a threat in a long time.
If Altidore is smart he will continue to play there to regain that confidence and show the form that could attract the bigger clubs, if he wishes to be given that second chance. One thing is for certain. Time is on his side as it seems we’ve been hearing about him for years, yet he is only 23 years old, which is still young even by soccer standards. So, as the name Altidore continues to be talked about again, you can guarantee that this is the Altidore of new. This is “the resurrection.”