U.S. Men's National Team

Altidore labels World Cup injury lowest point of his career

JozyAltidoreUSMNTInjured1-Ghana2014WorldCup (Getty)


Jozy Altidore was down in the dumps.

The 2014 World Cup was supposed to be an opportunity for him to shine, to do away with all the criticisms about his inability to score after a rough season at Sunderland, to showcase his game on the grandest of stages. But a hamstring injury picked up 23 minutes into the U.S. Men’s National Team’s tournament opener against Ghana prevented that from happening, leaving Altidore out for the remainder of the Americans’ stay in Brazil and so frustrated that he recently admitted to SunderlandEcho.com that it was the lowest point of his career.

Yes, even lower than the one-goal debut season he had at Sunderland.

“I would say the first couple of days (after the injury) were the biggest disappointment in my life as a professional,” said Altidore. “It was incredibly difficult. I’d done the injury before in 2011, so realizing how it felt, I instantly knew it would be very difficult for me to come back.

“I was just miserable. I’ve never felt so low as a player. You look forward to it for so long and I was feeling really good and confident. I was excited to give everything for the team, so for that to happen, I don’t really have the words.”

The 24-year-old forward remained with the team in Brazil despite knowing it was unlikely that he could return. There was a glimmer of public hope when U.S. Soccer announced that Altidore was “available and ready” for the Round of 16 match against Belgium – which the U.S. lost, 2-1, in extra time to bow out of the tournament –  but head coach Jurgen Klinsmann admitted afterwards that he knew Altidore would not play in the game.

As crushing as it was to Altidore to not be able to return from the Grade 2 hamstring tear he suffered on June 16, he knew he needed to find other ways to make an impact. He wound up doing just that, rooting his teammates on and encouraging them in any way possible.

“But after a couple of days, you have to understand it’s not about you,” said Altidore. “It’s about the team. You have to try your best to be positive and be the guy who still gives something any way you can. The challenge for me was to still be upbeat and give something in other ways.”

With the tournament now in his rearview mirror, Altidore is getting ready to return to Sunderland at the end of this week. He still is not fully recovered from his hamstring problem, but is getting closer and has set his sights on returning to the way he felt prior to suffering that fateful injury.

“I’m just focused on getting healthy and back to how I was before the World Cup,” said Altidore.


What do you think of Altidore calling the injury the low point of his career? Still not over the fact that he got hurt before the World Cup ever really began? Think he will bounce back at Sunderland this season?

Share your thoughts below.

    • BarryP

      Jozy will get another chance with Sunderland now. It’s four more years to another WC. I don’t blame him.


      • Michael f SBI mafia original

        he must not be following his own career. two goals in a year is lower I’d say


    • William the Terror

      Actually, factually, he scored two. Not that it has anything to do with the article. Go meet Captain Obvious now, Major Irrelavent.


      • Matt

        One in league play, 2 in all competitions. Both are considered correct.


      • cotton


        100% more goals than you give him credit for, off by 100%!!!!!!


      • cotton

        lol these guys.

        i was being sarcastic with the 100%, the comment was tongue in cheek.

        one goal, two goals, what difference does it make, its still a bad by his own standards any way you look at it. He would be the first one to admit it, goalscoring wise.


    • JayAre

      Sunderland is set up differently from the national team. When he got hurt we were missing his hold up play badly. I feel really bad for him but all that being said I want him to fight for his spot on the team like everyone else. If he doesn’t get it together that’s his problem. This is the beginning of a new WC cycle and we have to make everyone earn their lunch. Seeing players like Jozy and MB fighting for a spot isn’t a bad thing it’s just a sign of how good we are getting


      • away goals

        What makes you think he isn’t fighting for his spot?

        Just because he starts every usmnt game doesn’t mean the competition is closed, it means the other guys aren’t even close.


  • JakeTheSnake

    Feel bad for Jozy with the injury.

    He’s talented. I don’t see him having another dud season at Sunderland. I’m not saying he lights up the scoreboard every week, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him get 15+ goals this season.


      • JakeTheSnake

        I can’t argue with that….so, realistically, anything over 10 goals would be a great success.


    • Laszlo

      Mix scored on a deflected shot for Rosenborg in today’s Europa league game. Unfortunately they decided to score it as an own goal. Would have been his 2nd Europa goal in the past week. Oh well, at least he’s been playing for them, and not rotting on the bench (like earlier in the season).


  • NATO

    no consideration for Sunderland time or Hull City loan?

    dude needs to get to Germany or Italy. He will be a guaranteed success


  • NATO

    had he not been injured? he would have scored in Brazil. Most likely against Portugal

    wonder if we got to the quarters, could he have played against Argentina?


    • Clover362

      I think he would have scored against Ghana or at least assisted on a goal in that game. The play that he got hurt on he was almost through on goal. With Ghana pressing and throwing people forward to try and equalize altidore was going to be a nightmare for the back line to handle without any cover from the midfield.


      • OtherKevinHart

        who knew he was so key to our World Cup… and that being said… hell of a job by the Nats to overcome the injury and make an acceptable run in the tourney…


  • PD in Philly

    That which does not kill your career only makes you stronger. Holdup strikers can play well into their mid/late 30’s. It’s conceivable that he’s got 2 more WC’s in him. I do not know enough about long term prospects for players who get hammies (let alone 2 hammies), but while I’m pretty much ready to dream of what could have been with a Stuart Holden USMNT, I’m not quite ready to write Jozy off, and I believe that being denied something makes you truly understand how much you want it. This could ultimately be a huge boost for him in terms of finding the motivation for him to climb the ladder for the rest of his career.


    • Clover362

      Hammys tend to linger because they don’t get rehabbed properly and players come back to soon. If treated right they don’t usually represent long term problems like ankles or knees. Jozy injured his other hammy in 2011 and hasn’t had a problem with it since.


  • Brian I

    I just have a feeling he will have a big bounce back year this season. Now I’m not predicting 20 goals, but I could see him popping in about 10-12 league goals. Good luck Jozy, I’ll be rooting for you!

    Side note…I can’t wait to see what TBoyd does this season, and I’m excited for all our young prospects, especially in the Bundesliga with Dortmund. Trying to beat Bayern to the US market?


  • Duke

    I think he’s lucky he got hurt. Had he played and produced nothing, his value would have dropped like a rock. As it is, the believers can still claim he would have done things. We’ll see how his club season goes soon enough


  • mikeg

    He should have been more honest and say last season was his worst and his injury was the worst.


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