Photo by ISIphotos.com
Call it coincidence, or true twist of fate, but it is at least pretty interesting that in the same week that the New York Red Bulls are heading to the West Coast to play in their first MLS Cup final, one of their former young stars was also be shining in the Western part of the United States.
U.S. national team striker Jozy Altidore spent Wednesday night impressing observers with his ever-improving skill and the progress he has enjoyed since making his $10 million move from the Red Bulls to Villarreal. Just a day later, the Red Bulls were on a charter flight West, heading for Los Angeles and an MLS Cup final few could have imagined being in, especially without Altidore.
The 19-year-old striker won't be playing for the Red Bulls on Sunday, but he will be rooting for them. Altidore spoke with SBI correspondent Sulaiman Folarin after the U.S. team's 2-0 win against Guatemala. He spoke about his time at Villarreal and how he has kept in touch with his former MLS club:
By SULAIMAN FOLARIN
Jozy Altidore might not be lacing his soccer boots for the New York Red Bull any more, but the $10 million teenager is still watching his former club and their laudable performances in the MLS playoffs as they prepare for the MLS Cup Final in California this Sunday.
Just a couple of months ago, Altidore was still donning the colors of New York, but now plying his trade and honing his skills in one of Europe’s top leagues.
“That was my first club, so I’m always talking to the guys over there,” Altidore said in an exclusive interview. Though he has moved on to Spain and bigger opportunities with Villarreal, the young forward who admits he is in no rush to start for the La Liga giants, hopes his former teammates can lift the new MLS Cup and would have loved to play in the game himself.
“It’d be nice to play in it [MLS Cup],” Altidore confessed. “It’d be nice for them [New York] to win it and they have earned it, there is no doubt in my mind that they will leave everything out there on the field come Sunday.”
Altidore acknowledged that he is learning a lot from the Spanish league and his teammates Robert Pires, Giuseppe Rossi along with the older teammates who are supportive of his growth. He is excited with the core of quality players on the team and hopes his time to help the club will come soon.
“There are tons of world class players on the team, so I’m learning a lot from the guys," Altidore said. "My time will come and when it comes I have to be ready for it."
The forward turned provider for the first USA goal against Guatemala in Wednesday is loving life in Spain.
“It’s a good life man", says Altidore with a smile. “It’s simple and you know you got to focus on your job, and at the same time it’s whatever you want it to be.”
Aside from rooting for the Red Bulls this weekend, Altidore still keeps in touch with players on the team, including Dane Richards. Although he cannot help the team on the field, one thing he will be doing on Sunday is watching and cheering New York on.
“Of course, I’ll be watching all the way, but there is nothing I can do but support them,” Altidore said.