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Altidore ready to embark on next chapter of career after transfer to AZ Alkmaar


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BOCA RATON, Fla. – Jozy Altidore's club career since heading over to Europe has not gone as well as he would have liked, and that might explain why Altidore was full of smiles when he announced the next phase in his career.

In front of a handful of media members on a hot Friday morning, Altidore officially announced his move from Villarreal to Dutch club AZ Alkmaar. The deal has not been officially signed as of yet, but terms have been agreed upon, with Altidore agreeing to a four-year deal.

"It's a deal, a permanent transfer, so I'm excited," said Altidore, who made the announcement as kids in his youth sports soccer camp practiced behind him. "Kind of a fresh start for me, and I'm at a good age. I feel like I'm still very young and at an age where I can still impact the game on the world stage."

Alkmaar finished in fourth place in the Eredivisie last season, and its roster boasts international talents such as Danish midfielder Simon Poulsen and Argentina goalkeeper Sergio Romero. But those aspects weren't what ultimately lured Altidore to sign with the club. Instead, it was AZ's unmatched drive that convinced the 21-year-old U.S. men's national team striker.

"I just felt the interest there was a different class and in a different category of its own," Altidore said. "What the club presented me was fantastic. I just wanted to go to a place where – anybody wants to go to a place where they feel wanted and feel like you're needed, so I'm going there to help the team out, and play in some good competitions and I'm excited."

One of the key figures in making the deal happen was AZ Alkmaar technical director Earnie Stewart, who earned 101 caps with the U.S. national team during his time as a player.

"I spoke to Earnie quite a bit actually. Obviously Earnie is a big influence on the whole thing, but he's a great guy and he's been very honest and I think that's been very helpful for me and my family," said Altidore, who added he could join the club as soon as next week.

When Altidore does put pen to paper to make the deal official, he'll end a three-year stint with Villarreal in which he made just nine appearances and scored one goal in league play. 

Having been loaned out on three separate occasions during his time with the Spanish club, Altidore is aware of how important it is to find a stable situation. But he also admits that his time with the Yellow Submarine was far from easy and something he may not have been well-equipped to handle when he signed with the club in the summer of 2008.

"It was tough," Altidore said. "But I have to thank the organization. They were very great to me. It was tough. I never really got the run of games that you look for as a player to kind of get in the team.

"It happens, and I think I was at a time, too, when I was kind of still young and maybe it was a little much for me at 18. But it is what it is, it's behind me now and you just take up those experiences and try to make it better."

Altidore sounds eager to prove his worth as he embarks in the next chapter of his career, a chapter that will take him to a league known for developing attacking talent and one that he appears to rate highly.

"The Dutch League is like a school of soccer," Altidore said. "They teach the game very well, and they have that history of developing great players, so I'm hoping I can be one of those developments."


What do you think of Altidore's move to Alkmaar? Happy to know the deal is a full transfer and not a loan? How will you look back on his time with Villarreal?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Lost in most of the above juvenile drivel is Jozy’s performance in the EPL for Hull City. I watched every HC game that was on ESPN or Fox Soccer channel.

    Jozy was a force in every one of those games. He was a free kick generating machine giving Hull tons of free kicks just outside the box. EPL defenders had no answer for his size and had to resort dragging him down. In addition Hull scored five to six goals on penalty kicks caused by defenders dragging Jozy down in the box. I he had been allowed to take those penalty shots he might have had a seven goal EPL season.

    Unfortunately for Jozy and Freddy Adu they wound up with teams with coaches that had no use for them and parked them on the bench or loaned them to other teams that did not want them.

    This years Gold Cup should have showed most people that Jozy and Freddy will be the heart and soul of our national team in the near future even if they are not the equals of Messi or C Renaldo.

  2. “Jozy did not have the early benefit of the kind of training and totally professional environment all those guys you mentioned had.” This is very true — Jozy came up through MLS, a league that can hardly be considered a “professional environment” by serious people. It’s no accident that very, very few MLS players can succeed in Europe (and no, Scandinavia and lower-division leagues do NOT count for our purposes here). MLS is a limb-mangling train wreck of a league with less flair on display than League One. Euro leagues aren’t like MLS; they demand actual skill from players, and if there’s one thing MLS is in desperately short supply of (along with TV ratings), it’s skill!

  3. By that standard, Conor Casey should be on the field almost all the time for the U.S. team. And I seriously doubt any reasonable person would support that idea. Scoring occasionally in a big game doesn’t make you a serious forward option — well, unless your team sucks so bad that none of its strikers can ever seem to score, that is! Oh, wait…LOL!

  4. “BB would start him if he lost a leg in freak accident”

    Jozy had a hamstring pull for the Gold Cup final and BB did not start him for that.

    A hamstring pull is less serious than a lost limb.

  5. sorry but Jozy just isnt gonna cut it….He rarely has the ability do much as a target striker other than try to outmuscle the defender. seems to me he hasnt evolved enough over the past couple years to assume he will be influential leading up to 2014. Good athlete? YES. Good footballer not so much

  6. The comments here are so idiotic.They have gotten progressively worse.I guess the U.S has so many forwards abroad and capable of playing at the nat level that Jozy gets bashed.

  7. Youth is OK if you’re improving, and Jozy was not. His last train can pull out at 22 or 32, if he’s not moving forward he’s moving backwards.

  8. At 21 Charlie Davies was a bench warmer for Hammarby and a former NCAA star.

    One could argue Jozy already has that beat by some distance.

  9. Horse manure.

    Regardless of the opponent,WC qualifying goals are required to get you to the World Cup. Which means they matter a great deal and any player who can produce when it counts for real is doing well.

  10. Eurosnob: As above, I didn’t mean to imply that HE was a failure or had no future. he still might and I sure hope he does. But WOW is he worth less on the futures market than he was 3 years ago, right?

    Drogs was a late bloomer and Jozy’s size, shape, and style remind of big guy in Blue. I hope he goes that road.


  11. Well said, A.L. However, I disagree that he is a better player now. Even if he is, for three years of crucial time in his development period, he has not played, not scored, and is worth less in transfer now than then. That’s my basis for saying his time is an utter, unqualified failure.

    Still, I don’t dispute that he can still improve and still be a serious baller. Just saying that the last three years have been a disaster.


  12. “Umm…Did you miss the news about Jozy transferring at a discounted $2m price?

    Which means Jozy’s value plummeted in the transfer market from $10m when he was an unproven but promising 18 year old; to $2m when he is hopefully an OK Dutch league striker. ”

    I don’t think it works the way you say it does.

    While Jozy is not as hot a prospect as he was when he moved to Villareal, you ignore the fact that the European transfer market in 2011 is not what it was in 2008(see current world wide economic downturn).

    In fact, all things considered, it’s rather remarkable they would spend 2M on him, as crappy as most US fans seem to think he is.

    Maybe Stewart, who will take the heat if this doesn’t work out, knows something you don’t.

  13. The pressure style is not for everyone.

    From a fitness stand point the US is second to no team but they basically don’t have the players to play that way.

  14. Stewart is the Technical Director.

    I’m pretty sure he doesn’t say who plays.

    That would be Gertjan Verbeek, who it so happens was Michael Bradley’s manager when Bradley had that great run at Heerenveen

    Make of that what you will.

  15. That’s really the point isn’t it?

    Jozy did not have the early benefit of the kind of training and totally professional environment all those guys you mentioned had.

    So at 21, compared to them, he is still catching up. And he will probably never be as good as C Ronaldo,Mueller, Cesc or Messi.

    But that doesn’t mean he can’t become an even more useful player for the US than he already is. Frankly, you have no idea how good he can become.

    And if he plays his cards right he could have a longer career than almost all of the guys you mentioned save Beckham. When you start early, you also burn out earlier.

    You do realise there are a lot of people in Europe who think C. Ronaldo,at 26, is already over the hill and past his best?

  16. Umm…Did you miss the news about Jozy transferring at a discounted $2m price?

    Which means Jozy’s value plummeted in the transfer market from $10m when he was an unproven but promising 18 year old; to $2m when he is hopefully an OK Dutch league striker.

    Yeah he could maybe regain value with a couple good years in the Netherlands; but the smart money all took a pass on this bet. Or maybe Earnie Stewart is right and Jozy is a bargain now.

    Hope season goes well for Jozy.

    But counting on Turkish div2 Adu, Dutch Jozy, and also in the discount aisle Bradley for 2014…sounds like a recipe for another Bradley disaster.

  17. Thank You anon, some of us have actually do some thinking before we just type whatever everyone else keyboards in…

  18. That is a good point. It does take the entire team to put pressure, sort of like a full-court press, in order for it to work effectively.

    That’s another reason why I’m not a fan of BB’s coaching style.

  19. So tired of the “he’s still young” excuses for Jozy.

    “Just 21 years old” is different in soccer. Because physical skills are so important, players peak earlier. Prime is 24-28, not 28-32.

    A 21-year-old in European terms has gone through European academy training and spent at least two years as a full-time professional. Lionel Messi and Cesc Fabregas, two of the biggest stars in the world, are 24.

    Twenty-year-old Thomas Muller, in his first season for Bayern Munich, scored 20 goals and was pivotal on a team that went to the Champions League final.

    Jozy isn’t young by soccer standards. He’s the age where he should be starting to show his talent.

    18-year-old Cristiano Ronaldo moving to Manchester United on an $18 million transfer, replacing David Beckham and immediately receiving the club’s most iconic number, 7, worn by George Best, Bryan Robson, Eric Cantona and Beckham.

  20. Dude, WC qualifying cannot be used to say he did good. El Salvador, Trinidad & Tobago and Costa Rica don’t count in that sense.

  21. I actually do, but BB will start him anyway, regardless, so what’s the point?

    BB would start him if he lost a leg in freak accident.

  22. I just have to disagree with the heart and conviction comment. Unless the tactics from the coach are for the entire team to press high on the ball, it’s lunacy for the forward to chase a defender that is 20 yards away. Jozy is a big guy and its a waste of energy. One man pressure is just foolishness.

    I do agree,however, that I would really like to see him fight through some tackles. I think if he did that constantly he might find himself in on goal one or maybe even two times more a game, which is all you need.

  23. What a ridiculous statement. The USSF did not “have” Altidore when he was a teenager. The RedBulls and Villarreal did. The Italian Football Fed did not train Rossi. Parma and ManpUke did.

  24. I wouldn’t agree with this. He looked overmatched against Mexico. He did not look overmatched against Jamaica or Panama.

    I know we’re all focused on beating top-tier opposition, but if he’s good enough to play against Jamaica and Panama, he’s good enough to help the team qualify for the World Cup– and by then, he’ll be three years older and (one hopes) much better developed physically.

  25. Actually, Adu played for one of Potomac Soccer Association travel teams before he signed his contract with DCU. But I agree with your critisism of results oriented travel teams, whose coaches focus more on winning games and avoiding relegation than developing players.

  26. I wouldn’t say it was all he could do back then, but his head and possession game was his role on the national team. I remember McBride scoring one of the great early goals in MLS back when the Crew played at the Horseshoe. He was in the air, abut parallel to the ground and, yes, kicked it in. it was his detractors who called him McHead.

  27. Agudelo is not ready yet. He looked impressive in the friendlies, but was completely overmatched in the Gold cup. He is a very good prospect though.

  28. Dude, while I agree with you that Altidore did not fully fulfill his potential in his first few years in Europe, Altidore is too young to write off. At the same age, Drogba played for Le Mans in Ligue 2, where he lost his starting spot to Daniel Cousin through injury and upon his return failed to score a single goal. One could have easily said that Drogba’s first years were utter and unqualified failure. At least, Jozy played in more competitive leagues (EPL, La Liga) than the second division of French soccer. You have to be patient with the strikers. Some like Michael Owen/Chicharito bloom early, others like Drogba take longer to develop. Altidore is still very young, in fact, he is younger than Chicharito. And most non-Mexican people did not know who Chicharito is just a couple years ago.

  29. It is a good move. Jozy is improving. He will be a vital cog by WC 2014. IMO, Bradley, Adu, and Altidore are our most important players in the next couple of years.

  30. Dude, Altdidore was our top scorer in the WC qualifying and, if it were not for his his tournament ending injury, he would have been our top scorer in the Gold Cup – he finished second with just one goal behind Dempsey. There are much bigger problems for the USMNT than Altidore. If you want to complain about a player that truly sucked for the USMNT, just replay the Gold Cup final against Mexico.

  31. His time in Europe has obviously not been an “utter, unqualified failure.” How do we reconcile that notion?

    At 18 and 19, he was making the bench and playing in Cup games for Villareal. That’s nothing to scoff at. He was training and improving his touch (which arguably still needs much more work). He very much is a better player than the one who left MLS at age 18. He still has a long way to go, but there’s a lot that a player needs to do on the mental side of things, and sometimes we have to hold that at a premium.

    He still has a high ceiling — and at 21 years of age, going on a permanent deal to AZ Alkmaar? That’s pretty big news still and quite an accomplishment for someone who’s a “failure.”

  32. McBride was playing NCAA ball at 21. Despite lack of goals I’d say a year of starting most of a season in the EPL and a WC under his belt is a bit better than tearing up the college ranks.

  33. Yah – looks good. Proof will be in the puddin’!
    Cheers to Earnie Stewart for bringing Josie on board.
    I have always admired Dutch soccer (except for Nigel de Jong who should in irons, in jail for the way he attacks opposing players, cleats flying, kung fu kicks, what he did to Stuart Holden, etc.)
    I grew up playing my high school ball in central New Jersey in the 70s – since as a kid I grew up in Rio do Janeiro and Mexico City – I always had Brazilian team jerseys to scrimmage in (all left in tatters) – but I and all of my soccer playing friends, and my Mexican cousins were great admirers of the Dutch world cup teams of ’74 and ’78 and if you had an orange Dutch national team jersey you were practically beatified on the spot. We covered the whole field – all the time. End to end. Summers at a mile and half above sea level, my cousins would look at me with a silly grin and say stuff like – “Hey let’s run in circles around the field until we drop – I dare you, dare you……..come on, come on, lets go!”

    Anyways – it has a nice ring to it no? – “Altidore of Alkma – ar!” Grow up fast Josie – lose that whining at the ref attitude, and that wronged, anguished face – and get down to it. Get to work – no passengers – only crew, my son. Total football – be ready to play center back, defensive mid-field or goalie if need be – BE READY, all the time. No excuses – fortune favors those who take the field prepared with hard work, and assiduous study of the game. Go up!

  34. You make a sarcastic comment but it highlights a point.

    Stewart at AZ surely made this deal happen. But guess what, the same thing happens all over europe. This is a good case of getting more Americans on all levels at clubs and the positive it can bring.

    Big strikers like #4s in the NBA take a couple of more years to develop and fill out. His game is using his body and quickness. Yes his touch is mediocre at best, but with his position maybe he can get by. Not like a Xavi who is truly made at ages 3-8.


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