The enigma known as Jozy Altidore has left Sunderland and joined Toronto FC as a Designated Player in MLS.
Jermain Defoe’s move to Sunderland cleared the way for the two clubs to agree a swap deal with Altidore heading back to North America after playing for several years in Europe for a series of different clubs.
“Our top priority is building a winning club with players that are committed to the TFC vision. Jozy is a special player, and checks off all of the boxes that we look for in a player. We are excited to finalize this deal and bring him to Toronto FC,” said Toronto FC General Manager Tim Bezbatchenko. “It became clear that a return for Jermain to the English Premier League was going to be in the best interests of both sides. We’d like to thank Jermain for his contributions to Toronto FC and wish him well.”
Altidore began his professional career with the then MetroStars (now New York Red Bulls) after being selected seventeenth overall in the 2006 MLS SuperDraft. In two seasons, Altidore made a combined 41 appearances, scoring 16 goals in MLS regular season and playoff matches. He was transferred to La Liga side Villarreal CF on June 4, 2008. Altidore became the first American player to score in La Liga, when he scored against Athletic Bilbao on November 1, 2008.
In January 2009, he was loaned to Spanish Segunda División club Xerex CD. Due to surgery on his toe, Altidore did not make an appearance for the club. Following the conclusion of his loan, Altidore joined English Premier League side, Hull City A.F.C. on loan for the 2009-10 season. With Hull City, Altidore made a combined 31 appearances and scored two goals. In January 2011, Altidore joined Turkish Süper Lig club, Buraspor on a six-month loan. He made 12 appearances for the club and scored one goal. Altidore signed with Dutch Eredivise side, AZ Alkmaar on July 15, 2011 and remained with the club for two seasons, making a combined 93 appearances and scored 51 goals for the club. He was part of the club’s 2012-13 KNVB Cup winning side, and finished as the tournament’s leading scorer. That same season Altidore set the record for goals scored by an American playing in a European league with 31. Altidore was later sold to Sunderland on July 5, 2013.
To date, Altidore has earned 76 caps with the United States national team, and has scored 25 goals for his country. He earned his first cap against South Africa in November 2007, coming on as a substitute. Altidore became the youngest player in Men’s U.S. national team history to score a hat-trick at the age of 19, on April 1, 2009 in a 3-0 victory over Trinidad & Tobago. Altidore was part of the U.S. side in the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup squad; and scored the game winning goal against Spain in the semi-finals. He was also part of the U.S. squads in both the 2010 and 2014 FIFA World Cup squads. In addition, Altidore scored in a record five consecutive matches from June 2 to August 14, 2013 for the U.S. national team.
Altidore is an enigma because he has been unable to match his success for the USMNT and in the Eredivisie with his performances in the Premier League where he failed at both Hull City and Sunderland. Most fans and pundits in the UK can’t understand what the fuss is about the American since they haven’t seen him at his peak at all during his two disappointing spells in England.
Hopefully Altidore will be able to regain his form with Toronto FC beginning in March when the new season begins.
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