Rumors have been hot and heavy the past few days that Jozy Altiodre, the first American teen strikerto ever elicit serious interest from top European clubs is being heavily scouted by Real Madrid. Altidore, whose development has been remarkable to this point in his career could throw it all away by going to a club where his development will be stifled and where his national team service could become less frequent (as it did with Tim Howard once he went to Manchester United).
Altidore has better technical skill than any American has ever had at his age. His confidence on the ball and ability to play with his back to goal are something the National Team has been lacking since the retirements of Eric Wynalda, Earnie Stewart and Joe Max Moore some years ago. Altidore has the potential to take his place alongside the aforementioned names as titan in American Soccer attacking lore, but these next few years are critical. As we have seen with several other national team pool members, going to the wrong club could stifle a players development and in turn hurt US Soccer.
Real Madrid is a super club that deals in finished articles. Altidore would be much better off playing out his MLS contract or going to a league like the Dutch Eredivise where premium is placed on player development. In a place like Holland or Portugal Altidore could develop under the radar with some of the top technical coaches and trainers on the European continent. For me, long term that would be a better deal for US Soccer than the glitz and glamor of Real Madrid.