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Altidore finds his place in Europe

JozyAltidoreAZ (Getty)

After three trying years in Europe, Jozy Altidore finally found a place that felt right, and a club that gave him the chance he had been working so hard for. The result has been a return to the goal-scoring ways that made Altidore such a highly-regarded prospect as a teenager with the New York Red Bulls.

Altidore enjoyed a dream season with Dutch club AZ Alkmaar, scoring 22 goals in all competitions, and finishing tied for seventh in the Eredivisie. Not everything worked out perfectly though. AZ blocked Altidore from joining U.S. national team camp on time, wanting him to get some rest after a long season. That move set his fitness level back for the national team by several weeks and ultimately costing him his starting place on the national team for the recent World Cup qualifiers against Antigua & Barbuda and Guatemala.

Though clearly unhappy with the circumstances, Altidore took it all in stride and is now focused on what lies ahead as he prepares for his next season in the Netherlands, and the remaining World Cup qualifying cycle, which he is intent on regaining his starting spot for.

Here is my FOX Soccer feature on Jozy Altidore, which covers Altidore discussing topics ranging from his relationship with AZ manager Gertjen Verbeek to being benched for the recent USMNT qualifiers. Altidore also discussed his critics, which he has more of than most 22-year olds.

Here are some outtakes from my extensive interview with Altidore:

ALTIDORE ON HIS FAILED LOAN AT XEREZ (where he never actually got to play)

It was definitely strange. I was told I was going to go there and play. It was supposed to be a media type thing. They had never been in the Primera Division and I was going to go there and help them get there. It’ll be great for me. Then I land there and I’m told from the get-go that I’m not going to play. It was a tough situation for me, but it taught me that everything isn’t always what it seems.


I think I gained and lost a bit. When I was younger and coming up with the Red Bulls, I was running at people, but since I’ve come to Europe I’ve had to become a hold-up player just because you have to be able to hold up the ball if you want to get minutes. I think when I went to Hull that part of my game really became a lot better.


I went to Villarreal and it wasn’t what I thought it was going to be, or what they told me it was going to be like. I feel a world better (at AZ), finally being in a great place.


Sometimes when you’re talking, especially with people that don’t understand English, you have to talk how they talk so they understand what you’re saying. It’s not certainly that I’m growing this Brad Friedel thing. That’s not happening man. It’s just that if they talk to you in a funny way, and you talk to them (with an American accent) they’re like ‘huh?’, so you have to throw that kind of flip on it so they can understand it.


You’re always fighting for your position, that’s obvious, but I think with the national team it’s more a team-oriented thing. It’s different on a club team. You’re kind of out for yourself. It’s still team-oriented, but then guys can be gone next year. With the national team, you’re with these guys for the next 10 years so you have that connection. 


I wanted to be there with the guys because I wanted to get the best out of it, but there was nothing I could do because my club said no. I couldn't even go train with a club team or anything because of the legal things and risking an injury.



  1. marco,

    I don’t follow all your comments so I have no idea who you have written about and what youhave written about them.

    What I wrote :

    “If you can’t back up what you say about Jozy with more than just “because I say so”

    was rhetorical. If you haven’t done that then my comment is irrelevant and I have no issue with you.

  2. In general, right back sometimes reminds me of first base in that it seems like anyone can play there. So there is almost always a comparatively long list of candidates for the position.

    And USMNT fans are nothing if not fickle. Nothing is better than the guy they haven’t seen much of because he hasn’t screwed up enough yet.

  3. Now Vic, remember we just had a big discussion on facts.

    Can you prove that “The hate Donovan has received is mainly from foreigners saying that he’s not good enough for Europe(a ridiculous comment).” ?

    If you can’t prove, and I sincerely doubt that you can, that then it’s just your opinion which is fine.

    However, it’s the first time I’ve ever heard anyone have that point of view. The view that he’s not good enough for Europe I’ve seen come mostly from Americans, i.e. they talk about how he choked there all the time. It’s how he got his Landycakes nickname, something Americans call him not Europeans.

    Donovan haters are fine with him starting;they don’t have a choice. Since he broke on the scene he has always been an unquestioned starter, pretty much on merit (or because we had no one better, which is almost the same thing). So they just focus on other things.

  4. “My only comment on this thread is about the misuse of the word ‘hate’ and how it is just juvenile name calling.”

    not if you are actually hating, then it’s factual and simply calling the hater out

  5. I do ignore personal attacks, and calling someone a hater is just that. I treat it as name calling. I haven’t expressed an opinion on Jozy or Adu on this thread, but here is your comment suggesting I did.
    “If you can’t back up what you say about Jozy with more than just “because I say so”

    If directed at me, this is entirely made up. My only comment on this thread is about the misuse of the word ‘hate’ and how it is just juvenile name calling.

  6. Giovanni dos Santos is talented but to call him the “most talented” while ignoring the hottest player in CONCACAF, Clint Dempsey, is biased and slightly ignorant.

  7. The hate Donovan has received is mainly from foreigners saying that he’s not good enough for Europe(a ridiculous comment). Some say Dempsey is better than Donovan because of his European achievements. However, I haven’t seen many people say Donovan shouldn’t be a USMNT starter like I’ve seen with the other players I mentioned.

  8. So Giovani dos Santos is the most skilled player in CONCACAF (his goals against USA and recently Brazil undeniable), but has not played minutes for Tottenham. So the minutes thing is overrated. This country will never win anything deny players like Adu the opportunity to carry the team and be creative. Let’s see where Landon Donovan will carry you, oh he has not done crap in 10 years. Keep believing minutes is more important.

  9. UNRELATED to Jozy…but…just wanted to say I find the squat odd. Is it just me?? I have done it with team pics…all teams do it…but the front row always seems silly with everyone a bit different…and squatting over the grass pitch just seems a little odd to me. Maybe the US can be the one team that just has everyone stand in mass. Tall guys behind. Shorter guys in the front slightly between the two guys behind him…..or just like some TV show promo with everyone just in a “bunch” rather then two rows. Is the two row with squat some official FIFA rule? Its not a “serious” question….but I must admit I am a bit curious…

  10. One reason for the Jozy hate is because of his style. Even when he’s trying his hardest, he never looks as if he is going full out–like a Herc Gomez for example. Jozy almost always seems to be jogging, which is why he gets labeled “lazy.”

    That said, having watched a number of his AZ games, he can definitely turn it on when he needs to.

  11. I was under the impression that AZ played a formation somewhat similar to what Klinsmann is running. Care to elaborate a little? At the very least Jozy is playing the CF position almost exactly like he does at AZ.

  12. marco,

    This latest post sounds overly defensive, as if you have a problem with people calling you a hater for criticising Jozy.

    If what you write about Jozy is fair and you can back up what you say about him,f++k them all.

    If you can’t back up what you say about Jozy with more than just “because I say so” ( I have seen this argument used on SBI ) then you deserve whatever venom is spewed your way.

    On a forum like this your defense is the soundness and logic of your comments. You can’t expect any protection from anyone or anything other than what Ives gives you since this is his blog and he is the ultimate authority.

  13. “Perhaps we should all follow that old adage from Grandma. If we don’t have anything positive to say then we shouldn’t say anything at all. What fun! Being a fan is not being a hater.”

    Then you would have very few postings.

  14. Then again, Jozy is the player who is often blasted by his “haters” for his half squatting stance in the team photo.

  15. Cherundolo doesn’t get hate, but I get tired of seeing all these comments about “we need to start Lichaj (Chandler, Spector, Simek, name your RB).” It’s not hate, but it’s certainly not respect.

  16. I looked again at the uses of ‘hate’, and ‘hateful’ in some of the above comments. The word ‘criticism’ should have been used instead, in nearly all instances. Ex: ‘I don’t know why Jozy gets so much hate?’ This should have been …gets so much ‘criticism’, not hate. By using the word hate, the writer confers that all others who disagree with him are bitter, spiteful individuals who spew only their venom at Jozy. There’s no proof that’s the case. ‘Hate’ is the wrong word because as used, it’s name calling that tries to stifle all criticism.


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