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Jozy Altidore Plays the Hardest Game of His Life After Mentor Dies

jozy altidore Jozy Altidore Plays the Hardest Game of His Life After Mentor Dies

Sunderland striker Jozy Altidore said that his game against Tottenham Hotspur in the Barclays Asia Trophy in Hong Kong yesterday was one of the hardest of his life.

Altidore told the Sunderland Echo:

“For me, it was always going to be a difficult game. It was probably the hardest game of my life because on Tuesday, I had some bad news.

“The guy who got me into football lost his fight with cancer. Everything I’ve known has come from him.

“So it was a really difficult game, but I was happy that I could play and show the guys that I’m committed.

“That was the biggest thing for me, to show I care and that I’m committed.

“I’m a private guy, I haven’t really talked about it. I didn’t care if anyone knew about it.

“But these guys have been working so hard that I owed it to them to go out on the pitch and give something to them.”

The US international and former AZ Alkmaar striker was despondent after his mentor and first coach Josef Schulz, 61, died after he lost his battle with cancer. Schulz is best known as the coach who discovered Altidore as an eight-year-old.

When he first saw Altidore, Schulz told Jozy’s father that “You might laugh at what I am about to say, but one day your son is going to be on the U.S. national team. Bring him to our practice and see if you like it.”

The rest is history. Schulz helped to develop Altidore into one of the most promising US strikers in this country. The Austrian-born soccer coach launched The Schulz Academy in Boca Raton, Florida — and helped turn youth players into better soccer players, landing them contracts throughout Europe and elsewhere.

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About Christopher Harris

Founder and publisher of World Soccer Talk, Christopher Harris is the managing editor of the site. He has been interviewed by The New York Times, The Guardian and several other publications. Plus he has made appearances on NPR, BBC World, CBC, BBC Five Live, talkSPORT and beIN SPORT. Harris, who has lived in Florida since 1984, has supported Swansea City since 1979. He's also an expert on soccer in South Florida, and got engaged during half-time of a MLS game. Harris launched EPL Talk in 2005, which was rebranded as World Soccer Talk in 2013.
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