Jozy Altidore is back training with Toronto FC, but why exactly he was frozen out remains largely a mystery.
Altidore rejoined Toronto FC practice on Monday for the first time since he was frozen out of the team and told to train on his own weeks ago. Altidore was exiled back in late May after reportedly taking issue with head coach Chris Armas over being substituted out of a 1-0 defeat vs. Orlando City, but the recent firing of the American manager opened the door for Altidore to return.
“I am just so happy to be back in the team,” said Altidore in a press conference on Monday. “I love Toronto. All of you know that. You know my family loves this city, and I just look forward to getting back on the field.”
The 31-year-old striker did not provide many details as to why he was separated from the team, though. Altidore touched on recent reports that stated he wanted to leave Toronto FC, but that was as close as he got to shedding any light on what had transpired behind the scenes.
“At the end of the day, nobody wants to be somewhere where they were not wanted,” said Altidore. “I am never going to be in a place if I am in the way. I want to make sure quickly that does not happen.”
The Designated Player, whose contract with Toronto FC runs through the 2022 MLS season, also stated that team president Bill Manning played a key role in Altidore’s return. Manning reached out to the U.S. men’s national team forward in late June to ask him to rejoin Toronto FC.
“I was really appreciative of that, because I had not heard from anybody for a long time,” said Altidore, who added that he received a call from interim head coach Javier Perez days later. “I have been with Bill here a long time, so I really appreciated him calling me and trying to work things out.”
Now back on the training field, Altidore wants to do his part to help lift the team that he won an MLS Cup with in 2017. Toronto FC currently has the worst record in MLS at 2-8-2, and is in need of a major boost in order to salvage the season.
“Things happen all the time, and I think sometimes when you have been in a workplace a long time, it is important to remember you have been through a lot together,” Altidore. “For me, I do not hold any grudges against anybody. I do not believe in burning bridges. I do not believe in wishing bad on people.
“All I want to focus (on) now is the positive. I just want to focus on my teammates, focus on this amazing city. I just miss being a part of this group and representing this city for the last couple of months.”